The minister calls on universities and colleges to stop attracting international students

Robert Dijkraf, Minister for Education, Culture and Science, speaks to the press at the Binnenhof after the weekly cabinet meeting.ANP photo/Phil Nijhuis

He. She Minister Degraff asked To the boards of colleges and universities it appears to be an emergency measure. He already wants to reduce the number of international students with stricter measures, but the ministry can only introduce these measures in February. If educational institutions now voluntarily cooperate, Dijkgraaf promises to leave more room for “private policy implementation” within two months.

The fact that Dekgraff is already calling for “a complete halt to active recruitment” shows just how high the pressure is on higher education. Last academic year, 115,000 international students were enrolled in higher education. That was 3.5 times more than it was fifteen years ago. The minister fears that this growth will continue for the time being, leading to an increase in “work pressure among teachers and housing problems”.

The Minister excludes studies and programs that could use additional international students. Institutions are allowed to continue with “very limited and targeted hiring” in healthcare, science and teacher training, for example. The same applies to educational institutions in shrinking areas.

Dutch as a language of education

The fact that the increasing influx of international students is causing problems has been recognized for some time, both by national and local politicians as well as by the government. by universities and colleges. But no solution has been found yet. For example, European rules on the free movement of people make it difficult to keep foreign students out of the EU.

A possible way out is the language in which lectures and lessons are given. For international students, it is attractive that English is the language of instruction in many programmes. The idea is that if the courses are taught in Dutch again, the interest of foreign students will automatically drop.

Another option is to limit the number of non-EU students. This requires a change in the law. Currently, educational institutions are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of nationality. Last summer they had already counseled students To abstain from studying in the Netherlands: Due to the lack of housing, foreign students who do not have a room have been forced to sleep in expensive hotels or on the couches of fellow students.

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