English Winning Ground as Language of Instruction in Dutch Universities

English is used more and more as the language of instruction in Dutch universities, a survey by De Volkskrant has found. More than half (60%) of university programmes in Holland are now taught entirely in English, the newspaper reported on Friday.

nglish Winning Ground as Language of Instruction in Dutch UniversitiesThis was welcomed by Bastiaan Verweij of the Dutch university association VSNU, who said: “We are convinced that this will lead to better education and more opportunities for students in the international jobs market.”

This was welcomed by Bastiaan Verweij of the Dutch university association VSNU, who said: “We are convinced that this will lead to better education and more opportunities for students in the international jobs market.”

All the Bachelor and Master programmes at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences are taught entirely in English. What’s more, many of its programmes are taught jointly with the University of Brighton in the UK, a country known for its excellence in higher education. That means, students doing these programmes earn a double degree upon completing their studies.

The Dutch minister of higher education, Jet Bussemaker, expressed her support for more English language degrees if the quality is good and if it is not only introduced to attract more foreign students. “I do not accept the fact that universities give lessons in English purely for commercial reasons,’ she told De Volkskrant.

The newspaper looked at 1,632 programmes at 13 universities in the Netherlands. In less than 30% of the almost 1,200 master's degree programmes the language is in Dutch. The rest are all in English.

More than half of all master's students last year did their degrees in English, a study by VSNU showed. With bachelor's students it was about a 5th of all students.

De Volkskrant writes the thinking behind more English programmes is to compete better in a predominantly English international education environment and also to attract more foreign students.

WUP 31/8/2016

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press