'UT students' English not up to standard'

| Jelle Posthuma

Students complaining about project partners and teachers saying they can barely hold a conversation in class: some UT students have inadequate command of the English language. The University Council is therefore calling for stricter admission requirements 'at the gate'.

The University Council received signals from both students and teachers about the poor English skills of some UT students. Student party UReka therefore decided to find out what the admission requirements are at UT compared to other Dutch universities of technology. It turned out that the UT has much lower language requirements than the TU Delft and TU Eindhoven.

'This is bad for the quality of education and the diversity and inclusiveness of the UT community', said Max de Vries (UReka) during the University Council meeting this morning. He therefore called for an inventory of the language skills of UT students. The most important question being: should the UT raise its admission requirements? 'At the moment, students who do not get admitted to Delft because of their English are told: try Twente.'

Support and guidance

'I agree with you that our community should be inclusive,' rector Tom Veldkamp responded. However, he does not want to go straight to stricter admission requirements. 'We must place this discussion in a broader perspective. There are also cultural differences that play a role.' The rector is more interested in support and guidance from the moment students register at the UT. 'It is part of your education that your English skills improve. I don't believe that increasing the admission requirements will suddenly solve the problems. So let's look at other options.'

In her response, Alina Ritter (UReka) once again emphasised the urgency of the problem. 'Of course, even stricter admission requirements are no panacea. But at the moment students come through the selection with a lack of basic knowledge of English. An extra language course isn't going to solve this just like that. If we make the admission requirements stricter, we can at least make a better selection.'

Pragmatic

Nevertheless, the University Council is open to other suggestions to improve the English of UT students, Margo Dietrich (UReka) added. 'What we are asking for now is an inventory. What exactly is the situation regarding students' English skills?' Dirk Koelewijn (DAS) agreed. 'I view it mainly in a pragmatic way. There is something to be said for both sides. If we can raise the level with language courses, then we should definitely do that. In any case, one thing is clear to me: something has to happen.'