Fourteen Dutch universities have joined forces to tackle the growing influx of foreign students by implementing measures aimed at controlling the surge and boosting proficiency in the Dutch language among students and faculty. The decision, as reported by the National News Agency of the Netherlands (ANP), marks a strategic response to concerns surrounding the rising number of international students in the country.
Under these measures, the development of new bachelor's programs in English will be temporarily halted, with universities conducting assessments to determine which existing English-taught courses can be fully translated into Dutch.
However, master's programs offered in English will remain unaffected by these changes. The active recruitment of international personnel will also be scaled back, except in sectors facing significant labor shortages.
A pivotal aspect of this initiative involves universities agreeing that core bachelor's programs in essential fields like economics and psychology should predominantly be taught in Dutch. This move seeks to strike a balance between internationalization efforts and ensuring that crucial programs are accessible in the native language.
Furthermore, universities advocate for an enhancement in both Dutch language proficiency and a deeper understanding of Dutch culture among the academic community. A proposed law, currently in the drafting stage, aims to impose restrictions on the number of foreign students and introduce quotas for English-taught programs.
While the Netherlands has actively sought to attract international students in recent years, the focus has shifted towards addressing potential drawbacks associated with a high enrollment of non-native students. Concerns include the impact on access to courses for Dutch students and the strain on student housing availability in urban areas, exacerbating existing housing crises and contributing to inflation.
The Netherlands' move to implement measures to curb the influx of international students aligns with similar efforts seen in other countries grappling with housing shortages and inflationary pressures exacerbated by a surge in foreign enrollments.