Universities and colleges ‘should put limit on English classes’

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Universities and colleges have called for the number of courses given in English to be capped in an attempt to contain the growing number of international students.

In a joint paper published on Monday, the Netherlands’ higher education institutions said an upper limit would allow the sector to ensure universities remained accessible to Dutch students.

The institutions also said that matriculation and course fees for students from outside the European Union should be raised. Students from EU countries have the right to pay the equivalent fees to their Dutch counterparts, currently around €2,000.

Universities should also be more selective in deciding whether to give classes in English, improve Dutch and English language courses for students and do more to integrate international students into the system and student life.

In some cases a cap could be introduced on the number of non-EU students applying for popular courses, the institutions said.

The sector acknowledges that international students are needed to meet demand for graduate employees as the number of Dutch students declines, but says the numbers need to be manageable.

‘Dutch higher education is extremely attractive internationally, but we need to think about how much growth we can absorb,’ said Pieter Duisenberg, chairman of the universities’ association VSNU.

Currently international students make up 17% of the total population, but VSNU expects this proportion to rise to around 20% in the near future. Around 30% of university staff and 50% of postgraduates are internationals.

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