English invasion in Dutch universities

The right-wing Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf published an article urging universities to "stop this English madness." In a country where 60% of degree courses are taught entirely in English, over-internationalization can become a real problem.

Lara Bullens
Lara Bullens NewsMavens, Western Europe
English invasion in Dutch universities  - NewsMavens
Windmill in Japan

Why this story matters:

Though English is Europe’s most dominant lingua franca, multilingualism is an inherent part of a larger European identity. When the Dutch use English as the main language for a majority of university courses, it is a step away from, not toward, multilingualism.

The economic benefits of an English-language bachelor and master’s degree are indisputable. A student from Singapore will evidently bring more money to a university than a student from Terschelling. Even without financial benefits, the accessibility to English-language degrees is  important. It allows students to cross-pollinate ideas and talent across national borders.

In making English the norm, however, universities are also robbing international students of their international experience.

Many students who have signed up for English-speaking masters, including friends of mine back home, complain that the level of English is too low. Important details and nuances, especially scientific vocabulary, get lost in translation.

Learning a foreign language means there is room for errors. Teaching in a foreign language, however, requires a whole new level of mastery. In this case, it's obvious that much of the wealth and complexity that comes with teaching in Dutch is being cast aside to cater to the needs of international students.  

Living in Amsterdam, the reclamation of space and heritage from tourist culture is daily dinner conversation. A cheese shop has recently taken up a court case after it was criticized for over-using English, to the clear benefit of tourists over local consumers.

The dominance of Europe’s lingua franca in the Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam, needs to be capped.

education, migration

Details from the story:

  • The Dutch are concerned that English is taking over universities. All psychology studies, for example, are carried out in English (except for Tilburg and Utrecht)
  • In 2016, De Volkskrant published statistics on how dominant the English language is in the Netherlands. It found that 60% of the 1,632 different degree courses in all of the country’s universities (13 in total) were in English
  • Only 30% of master’s degrees are taught in Dutch
  • 90% of Dutch people speak English as a foreign language, and agree that it is imperative to speak or at least understand English
  • Article 7.2 of the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act states that teaching and exams must be in Dutch unless a guest lecturer from another country is involved, or "if the specific nature, structure or quality of the teaching or the origin of the students makes this necessary"
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.

WITH FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM:
SUPPORTED BY:

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

STRATEGIC PARTNERS:
NewsMavens
NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
CORE TEAM
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at https://newsmavens.com/transparency-policy
System.Threading.Tasks.Task`1[System.Threading.Tasks.VoidTaskResult];