Discouraging foreign students from studying in the Netherlands by making Dutch a requirement may lead to a shortage of technical and medical personnel, the four Dutch universities of technology have warned.
In particular, the challenges around climate, health care and energy, and a lack of home-grown technology students make attracting students from abroad essential, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, Universiteit Twente and Wageningen University argue in an opinion piece for the Volkskrant.
Almost a quarter of foreign students remain in the Netherlands after graduation for at least five years, they point out.
The Netherlands, they say, lags behind when it comes to training people to work with technology. Just 8.7% of graduates have a master’s degree in a technological subject, and this puts the Netherlands in 27th place out of the 37 OECD countries.
The universities also said the Dutch education ministry should learn from the Danes who limited English-language courses for two years but were hit by a shortage of technical staff and are now welcoming foreign students again.
A cutback in English language courses across the board would put the Netherlands in the same position, the universities fear.
The universities say much more must be done to interest Dutch potential students in technology at a young age. But, the universities said, the Netherlands still needs technological talent from abroad and the Dutch universities cannot afford to discourage them by only offering Dutch language degrees.
Education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf has already said that he wants a “tailored approach” to the Dutch language requirement for sectors which are in danger of staff shortages.
Although this seems to warrant the continuation of English as the language of choice for technology degrees, the universities are afraid politicians such as Pieter Omtzigt, who is set for a substantial election win, will back up his comment on Op1 that Dutch should become the lingua franca at Dutch universities.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation