Dutch Education Council criticizes plan brakes on international students

The Dutch Education Council has voiced criticism towards the government’s proposed measures aimed at restricting the influx of international students into the Netherlands. Expressing skepticism, the advisory body particularly questioned the feasibility of regulations concerning lectures delivered in languages other than Dutch.

Announced by the Ministry of Education in April, these measures intend to uphold Dutch as the primary language of instruction in universities and colleges. The proposed mandate would limit the portion of courses delivered in a language other than Dutch to one-third, with English commonly chosen as the alternative language. Any institution exceeding this limit would require approval from the minister.

The Education Council highlighted concerns regarding the additional administrative burden these measures would impose, especially on institutions already offering approved courses. They emphasized the tight nine-month timeframe given for institutions to develop and submit proposals, alongside unclear compliance guidelines. The Council warned of significant organizational and staffing implications for universities and academic institutions should certain programs be restricted from delivering lectures in another language.

Moreover, the Council emphasized a missing aspect in the proposal: the financial incentive for institutions to attract more foreign students, resulting in heightened competition among them. They urged the government to explore alternative methods of funding distribution to manage the influx of international students, a consideration postponed by the ministry.

However, the Education Council expressed optimism regarding the potential imposition of maximum limits on international student numbers for specific courses. They cited concerns over insufficient resources such as teachers, facilities, and student accommodations, particularly in urban areas. The Council indicated university support for such limitations.

Furthermore, the Council of State will also provide its opinion on the proposal, following which the Cabinet will review and potentially adjust the plans before submission to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament.

Established over a century ago, the Dutch Education Council provides policy and legislative advice to successive Cabinets, ministries, and parliaments. Comprising 12 members appointed based on expertise, the autonomous and independent Council operates under an annual work program determined by the Minister of Education, Culture, and Science.

[Source: NOS]