In fact, the PIA draws the same conclusion as the University Council did a month ago: the UT is out of sync with other universities when it comes to English language requirements for admission. Other universities such as the TU Delft and TU Eindhoven have adjusted their requirements in recent years, based on experiences and new insights. The UT has not adjusted its language requirements for years and now seems to be setting the bar the lowest,' says PIA chairman Jan Schut.
According to Schut, a 'considerable number' of study programmes recently approached the PIA, wanting to make their language requirements stricter. 'They have noticed that the command of the English language is not always as good as it should be. For example in reports, presentations and communication in project groups. And because the UT has lower language requirements than other universities, study programmes are afraid that we will attract students who are rejected at other universities.'
The PIA therefore recently advised the University Education Committee (UC-Ow, with the rector as chair) to set up a working group. 'You don't have to say immediately: the requirements must be stricter. But at least get people who are experts in language to examine the requirements. What do the programmes themselves want? Where do they want to differentiate? And how do the requirements of the UT relate to those of other universities, particularly those of our partners in the 4TU network?'
Last year, the PIA made a similar recommendation to the UC-Ow, for the establishment of such a working group. That advice was snowed under by the corona crisis, Schut knows. 'There was also a latent working group earlier, which was mainly concerned with the type of language test. We advise: set up a working group from CES - in particular from the Language Centre - with a more integrated approach. And get people from the study programmes, Strategy & Policy and Marketing & Communication involved. If the UC-Ow officially commissions this, it is also a form of validation.'
The UC-Ow will consider the recommendation in early April. If it were up to the PIA, the working group would get down to work immediately and make decisions as quickly as possible. 'If you want different requirements from the academic year 2022/2023 onwards, you have to have those requirements clear and on the UT website by September 2021. After all, prospective students need to have this information a year before they make their choice,' says Schut.