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CDA wants clarification from minister about preparatory years for internationals at UvA

Henk Strikkers,
30 september 2020 - 11:59
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Member of Parliament Harry van der Molen (CDA) wants clarification from minister Ingrid van Engelshoven (Education, Culture & Science, D66) concerning the so-called ‘preparatory years’ offered by the UvA for Business Administration and PPLE.

Earlier this week, Folia published an article (available here in Dutch) reporting that the UvA is the only Dutch university to offer what it calls ‘preparatory years’ for courses with a numerus fixus or selection procedure. A national committee that oversees the internationalisation of education described this as ‘questionable’ in a recent report.

‘If the UvA, which is a public institution, breaks the rules, the minister must intervene’

Prior to a preparatory year, potential students are tested whether they will be able to meet the entry requirement for their chosen study. (Such testing is not available for courses with a selection procedure or a numerus fixus.) In order that these students receive a residence permit a year early, the UvA enrols them on a course different to their preferred study. The Immigration & Naturalisation Service, which assesses all applications from foreign nationals who want to live in the Netherlands, is critical about this procedure.
Van der Molen of the CDA is seeking clarification if the UvA is acting in accordance with the code of conduct on internationalisation in higher education, whether this [residence-permit] ‘trick of the UvA’ is permissible, and whether the UvA has a right to offer preparatory studies. ‘If the UvA, which is a public institution, breaks the rules, the minister must intervene,’ he says.
On a basic level, says Van der Molen, we should ask ourselves whether we should allow a construction that enables students who do not have the right academic grades to study in the Netherlands to pay for expensive preparatory training. He says it’s an example of the ‘factory university’ and of a ‘revenue model that has gone wild’.
On 3 December 2020, the House of Representatives will meet to discuss the issue and Van der Molen has asked the minister to provide answers no later than one week beforehand. PVV members Harm Beertema and Emiel van Dijk have also asked Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven about the issue, with Beertema insisting that the UvA ‘stops these fraudulent practices’.