BBC Reports Dutch Language Besieged by English at the Unis

BBC Reports Dutch Language Besieged by English at the Unis

Dutch language besieged by English at the unis

The article reports that the spread of English in Dutch universities has prompted a group of lecturers to predict a looming "linguicide" and suggested that the government in The Hague imposes restrictions on allowing new English language courses until an official impact analysis can be carried out.

Loss of Dutch Identity?

The BBC quotes a professor of linguistics at the University of Amsterdam as posing the pertinent question: "What happens to the identity of a people of a country where the native language is no longer the main language of higher education?”
 
The Dutch have always had a strong proficiency for English, second only to Sweden in the latest EF English Proficiency Index. And the rich heritage of Dutch culture is not going anywhere soon.  The Dutch tend to speak their own language amongst themselves, and appreciate it when those from other countries have a go.

Is internationalisation growing too fast?

The attraction of English as the sole language of instruction at Wittenborg is a draw for many students coming from abroad, and recently the growth of international students in the Netherlands has been exponential. This has brought with it its own problems. Take Groningen University in the north, for example, which has taken in so many international students that they are reported to have resorted to accommodating new arrivals in tents just so they can have a roof over their heads. But by offering courses in English - the lingua franca of the EU and the world, let’s face it - Dutch research universities are simply competing for international students in a bid to survive.

Research universities accepting unqualified students?

Peter Birdsall, chair of the executive board at Wittenborg University, maintains:

"I think that the fast growth at research universities in the Netherlands is often down to them accepting unqualified international students, who don’t have a VWO diploma - A Levels or equivalent - and allowing them to enter there programmes by letting them come to Holland on a study visa (they apply for and sponsor) to do an unaccredited language and study skills course at a private programme such as Study Group, or OnCampus or Navitas. Regulate that, force the Dutch research universities to only accept qualified VWO students, and I'm sure the over subscription of international students at these institutes would slow down."

Read the full BBC News article here.

WUP 01/11/2018

by  James Wittenborg
Picture is screenshot of https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46030112
©Wittenborg University Press

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