Dutch universities want fewer foreign students

Dutch universities want to limit the increase of students from abroad, umbrella organization VSNU confirmed to NOS after reports in NRC. 

On Monday the VSNU will send an internationalization agenda to Education Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven. A spokesperson for the organization would not tell NOS what their plans entail, but did say that the agenda contains many more subjects than just the admission of new students.

Over the past 10 years the percentage of foreign students in Dutch universities more than doubled. This is partly because an increasing number of courses are offered in English. Minister Van Engelshoven previously criticized the increasing number of English-language programs. According to her, some universities choose to give courses in English only to boost the number of students. "Without there being a substantively good reason", she said to NOS. A study last year showed that switching courses to English may be detrimental to the quality of the course. 

Student organization ISO is pleased that the VSNU wants to limit the number of foreign students. The organization raised concerns about this topic before. "The universities recognized that they have to take steps", chairman Rhea van der Dong said to NOS. "We have been saying for a long time that they first have to think carefully about what it means when they bring in all those international students."

According to Van der Dong, students fear that the increasing number of foreign students, and the English language courses that come with it, will lead to a loss of educational quality. "Many students tell us that their teachers' English is not good enough to give the course at the same level. But also that their English is not so good that they can follow an academic discussion with the same depth."