Minister asks universities and colleges to stop recruiting international students
He Minister Dijkgraaf’s request to the boards of colleges and universities appears to be an emergency measure. He actually wants to reduce the number of international students with tougher measures, but the ministry can only introduce these measures in February. If educational institutions now cooperate voluntarily, Dijkgraaf promises to leave more room “for the implementation of its own policy” in two months.
The fact that Dijkgraaf is already calling for a “total stop to active recruitment” shows how much the pressure on higher education has increased. Last school year, 115,000 international students were enrolled in higher education. It was 3.5 times more than fifteen years ago. The minister fears that this growth will continue for the time being, leading to an increase in “teacher work pressure and housing problems”.
The minister makes an exception for studies and programs that could use additional international students. Institutions are allowed to continue with “very limited and targeted recruitment” for health care, science and teacher training, for example. The same goes for educational institutions in shrinking regions.
Dutch as language of instruction
That the growing influx of international students is causing problems has been recognized for some time, both by national and local politicians and by the government. by universities and colleges. But no solution has yet been found. For example, European rules on the free movement of people make it difficult to keep foreign students outside the EU.
One possible issue is the language in which lectures and lessons are given. It is of interest to international students that the language of instruction for many programs is English. The idea is that if lessons are again given in Dutch, the interest of foreign students will automatically decrease.
Another option is to limit the number of students from outside the European Union. This requires a change in the law. Currently, educational institutions are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of nationality. Last summer, they already advised students refrain from studying in the Netherlands: Due to housing shortages, international students without rooms have been forced to sleep in expensive hotels or on other students’ sofas.
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