‘International students must learn Dutch’

A decent command of the Dutch language increases opportunities in the employment market, says Minister Dijkgraaf.
A Catholic reading board commissioned by the boys’ orphanage in Tilburg from G. Becker. Source Wikimedia Commons

A new law initiated by education minister Dijkgraaf is to streamline the influx of international students. There are two announcements worth noting: the minister wants ‘central steering’, and all international students must learn Dutch.

In a press release, the minister underscores that international students benefit the knowledge economy and society as a whole. ‘But we must be able to control the influx where needed.’If not, internationalisation may lead to ‘overcrowded lecture rooms, high work pressure among teachers and a housing shortage.’

Dijkgraaf wants ‘some sort of central coordination’ to consider the education system as a whole from the perspective of social interests. If the system becomes threatened, Dijkgraaf want ‘intervention options’, the press release states. What this will look like is to be detailed further soon.

Learning Dutch

Moreover, Dijkgraaf wants universities and university colleges to improve the language skills of all students, including international students. A better command of the Dutch language increases their opportunities in the employment market. Furthermore, it will increase the chances of international students remaining in the Netherlands after they graduate.

This all calls for new proposed legislation. The ministry says that it will not be implemented before September 2024. Before the summer, the House of Representatives will discuss the issue of internationalisation with the minister, which will possibly provide more clarity on the ‘central coordination’ the minister wants.

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