Student orgs. want temporary, not permanent limit on international students
Student organizations want a temporary brake on the influx of international students, and not a permanent one, as Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf of Education argued for in parliament on Wednesday.
A brake is needed because the “influx is currently explosive,” a spokesperson for the student organization ISO said to NU.nl. But international students also have added value to the Netherlands. “We can learn a lot from other cultures in education.”
According to Statistics Netherlands, about a quarter of students studying in the Netherlands come from abroad. At some universities, that number is as high as 40 percent. According to the ISO and national student union LSVb, that has consequences for the quality of education.
“Something has to be done because this influx is at the expense of quality,” The ISO said. The large groups of students put more pressure on lecturers, who have more work and are less able to reach students individually. The “anglicization” of education also doesn’t help quality, LSVb added. “Not every lecturer can deliver the same quality lectures in English as in Dutch,” said LSVb chairman Joram van Velzen.”
A shortage in student housing is another problem. The Randstad and large student cities like Groningen are struggling to house all their students, resulting in many higher education institutions calling on international students to change their study plans if they can’t find a place to stay. According to LSVb, there is a shortage of at least 27,000 student homes.
In parliament on Wednesday, Minister Dijkgraaf argued for a permanent brake on the influx of international students, for example, by limiting the number of students that can enroll in the English version of courses while keeping the Dutch versions open. He has already asked higher education institutions to stop actively recruiting students abroad.
These measures were to the dismay of higher education institutions outside the Randstad, which aren’t struggling with the Randstad’s housing issues. Universities in Zeeland, Limburg, and Twente, regions with aging and shrinking populations, depend on international students.
The student organizations also think that a permanent limit is going too far. According to the ISO, international students who want to study in the Netherlands should be sent to universities outside the Randstad and big student cities if the study programs on offer allow it.