In the Netherlands, there is much discussion about internationalisation in higher education. The number of international students at universities and universities of applied sciences has risen sharply in recent years. This leads to bottlenecks in some places. In consultation with the Minister of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), the Dutch Parliament wants to get a better grip on this issue. We want to inform you about the current state of affairs.
At the University of Twente, we understand the desire to get a grip on intake. This can help ensure the accessibility and quality of higher education.
In the discussion on the accessibility of higher education, much is also about the language policy of educational institutions. There is a call for more attention to the Dutch language and a critical look at English as the language of instruction in study programmes. We understand this desire and are happy to cooperate with sufficient attention to Dutch in and around the university. This can be done, for example, by looking at opportunities to offer programmes in both Dutch and English, but also by checking whether our language policy is sufficiently in line with this desire.
Several debates on the internationalisation of higher education have been held in Parliament recently. In these, the Minister has been asked to come up with proposals for a better grip on the (international) influx and explicitly asked for attention to the language policy of institutions.
In a letter to Parliament last week, Minister Dijkgraaf announced that he would send his intentions by May at the latest. There will also be another parliamentary debate in which the intentions will be discussed.
The fact that no decision-making has occurred yet means that no changes will occur in the short term. In line with the Minister's request, we will remain cautious about our international recruitment activities for now. Naturally, we will inform interested students adequately about the possibilities of studying in Twente, to ensure that they can make a well-considered decision. We are also already preparing for activities aimed at the new academic year.
As UT, we are following these developments closely because the outcomes of the political debate will potentially affect us. After all, we are a university operating on an international playing field, not least because of our location on the border.
At UT, we would like to continue to warmly welcome international staff and students in the coming period, as we have done in recent years. We do this from the conviction that internationalisation contributes to a diverse and talented community, and from the added value of attracting international talent for labour market needs, regionally and nationally. This starting point is an essential precondition in determining follow-up steps.
Should the debate and decision-making lead to national consequences for the UT, we will work closely with stakeholders within the faculties and departments to see how we can follow up on this well, with an eye to the feasibility of intentions and the welfare of staff and students.