Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven (Education, Culture & Science) will examine whether it’s necessary to change the law to limit the growth of English-language courses, she told the House of Representatives.
The Higher Education and Research Act states that courses have to be taught in Dutch unless the ‘specific nature, organisation or quality of education or origin of students requires otherwise’. The law is broadly interpreted, however, with the result that nearly a quarter of bachelors students are currently being taught in English (this figure is 70 per cent for masters students).
Frank Futselaar (SP) stated that the debate was not only about language, but also about funding.’Is it legitimate for an institution such as Maastricht, with 52 per cent international students, to collect 80 to 90 per cent of its income from Dutch taxes?’ His colleague Harry van der Molen (CDA) suggested the implementation of a central review before studies are allowed to be taught in English, or to switch them back to Dutch.
The minister said she wanted to consider this as well as to examine whether the law is outdated and needed to be reviewed in order to protect the Dutch language in higher education.