‘More support to learn Dutch’

| Rik Visschedijk

An inclusive university is a two-way street. That is the scope of the concept code of conduct languages that will be discussed tomorrow in the University Council. The Executive Board expects Dutch UT staff to speak English where logical. Internationals will receive more support to learn Dutch.

Photo by: RIKKERT HARINK

‘We have made existing policy more explicit and determined the level of English we expect from employees for each job profile,’ says Victor van der Chijs, chairman of the board. ‘Beyond that there are no major changes. There will, however, be an overview stating in which language documents must be written. Some documents must be legally in Dutch, such as annual report. For bilingual documents, we clearly state which version is leading.’

International university in the Netherlands

As before, the principle remains: English as a formal language where possible, but feel free to speak Dutch if you do not exclude anyone. The UT is an ‘international university in the Netherlands’, confirms Van der Chijs. "So Dutch has its place. In fact, we invite newcomers to learn the language. The UT Language Center will offer extra courses for this. If you want to build a life here, it is very useful to speak Dutch. That fits with our policy to retain international talent for the region. "

The code of conduct is new on one point, says Van der Chijs. The ministry is in the process of amending the law for higher education and the UT is taking an advance. ‘If a study program wants to change the working language, then approval from the program committee is required and the language choice must be substantiated in a vision. All programs have that vision, but we ask to review it again and make it explicit. "

Language requirement

For students who require a visa to study at the UT, the language requirement does not change at this moment. That can change. The Ministry is investigating the possibility to have more control on international applications. ‘A possibility is a higher language requirement’, says Van der Chijs. ‘If that is possible, we will coordinate with the 4TU universities whether we will adjust the language requirements. Because if one university raises the requirement, you run the risk of a rush at the other universities.’

With the revised code of conduct languages, the Executive Board delivers on a promise to the University Council. Before the summer there would be a code, which clearly states when documents should be in English, when Dutch can be spoken and if the UT expects from international effort to learn Dutch. The revised code of conduct will be discussed on Wednesday in the University Council and will take effect from January 2020.