Dutch Universities Limit English-Taught Programmes Amid Lowest Increase In International Student Numbers

Dutch Universities Limit English-Taught Programmes Amid Lowest Increase In International Student Numbers

Over 128,000 international students are enrolled in Dutch universities and universities of applied sciences, marking a 5.4 percent increase from the 122,287 students in 2022/23.

Siksha MUpdated: Thursday, May 30, 2024, 02:15 PM IST
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According to Nuffic, a Dutch organisation dedicated to the internationalisation of education, the Netherlands has witnessed a 5 percent increase in international student numbers for the academic year 2023–24. This is the lowest increase in almost ten years. 

Growth in International student enrollment

As reported by Erudera, currently, over 128,000 international students are enrolled in Dutch universities and universities of applied sciences, marking a 5.4 percent increase from the 122,287 students in 2022/23. Despite reaching a new high, this year's growth represents the smallest annual increase since 2014.

International students now constitute one in six of the total student population in the Netherlands, with nearly three-quarters coming from the European Union, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein. Germany remains the largest source of international students, contributing over 21,000 students, though the number has declined for the second consecutive year.

Dutch Universities to restrict international students 

Earlier this year, the Universities of the Netherlands (UNL), representing 14 Dutch universities, announced plans to scale back international student enrollment and limit the availability of English-taught degrees. “Universities are taking these measures to preserve the added value of internationalisation without adverse impact on the Netherlands," stated Ruben Puylaert, UNL spokesperson. He emphasised that although globalisation is important for the scientific community and the economy, it has also brought about problems that call for these steps.

To address these issues, universities agreed to discontinue new English-language bachelor’s programmes and reassess existing English-taught courses, potentially reverting them to Dutch. 

The new legislation, published on May 13, 2024, empowers institutions to limit international admissions and restrict new English-language programmes unless approved by the Ministry of Education. This move aims to alleviate overcrowding, reduce lecturer workloads, and tackle the housing shortage for students.

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