Parliament debates about internationalisation in higher education

| Jelle Posthuma

The Dutch Parliament will debate about the internationalisation of higher education in committee on Thursday afternoon. The influx of international students and the language of instruction are hot topics. For the UT, the stakes are potentially high: a major share of its students and staff are international, and the main language is English.

Photo for illustration purposes.

The Dutch Parliament has been critical of the internationalisation of higher education for some time: a motion by MP Pieter Omtzigt on the language of instruction was passed by a large majority early this year. Minister Dijkgraaf also wants more room for Dutch, according to his parliamentary letter at the end of April. In addition, he wants to use 'central direction' to control the influx of international students.

However, Dijkgraaf's plans still leave a lot of room for interpretation. The question is whether critical MPs will be satisfied with the proposed measures, and whether Dijkgraaf can provide more clarity during the committee debate. Earlier this month, the education minister already asked for patience regarding English in education.


The UT, through President Vinod Subramaniam, previously reacted cautiously optimistic to Dijkgraaf's plans. In the run-up to the committee debate, Dutch universities discussed internationalisation with the minister. Following this, the umbrella association UNL gave four points of advice to the Dutch Parliament in a memo. In the memorandum, they mainly point to the danger of a 'one size fits all' policy: the situation in the Randstad is substantially different from the situation in a border region like Twente.

The committee meeting starts at 1pm and will last until 6pm. A livestream of the debate can be followed on the website of the Dutch Parliament. U-Today will also report through a liveblog on our website.

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