EUR tries new approach to internationalisation: Dutch language course added to curriculum of international Bachelor programmes

The Waffle

As of the next academic year 2016/17, the Executive Board of the Erasmus University Rottenham (EUR) has decided to include a level A Dutch language course in the curriculum of the international Bachelor programmes. In addition to achieving the regular 60 credits, this means all first year students of the English programmes need to provide evidence of their language proficiency (e.g. by a Dutch school diploma) or successfully participate in a Dutch course of level A or higher. Proof for the latter (e.g. by a copy of the language certificate) will have to be provided to EUR’s Bureau voor Instandhouding van Nederlands Erfgoed before a positive BSA can be granted.

Because of the policy's potential for controversy, a statement released by the Executive Board on ensures all students and prospective students that the new language policy is exlusively aiming to promote cultural diversity and “encourage all students to […] actively participate in the Dutch society.” Critics, however, believe the true incentives originate from the government budget cuts in recent years, and that the Executive Board is hoping to be able to cut on communication costs by having to translate fewer content to English. In the long term this might also include course materials such as lecture slides, it says in the foodprints of the statement.

Criticism came quickly from the international student pan, pointing out that international students might find themselves unwelcomed if such a policy were to be enforced. This argument was quickly mitigated by a student survey conducted in 2012, which asked students whether or not they would support this change of curriculum; as it turns out, only 12% of the students said they would not support it (for more information on the survey click here). Other arguments such as possible disadvantages of international students in particularly time intensive programmes, like the Econometrics & Operations Research or the International Business Administration Bachelors, were also not able to weaken the doubtlessness of the Executive Board.

Details on the implementation of the new internationalisation policy will follow in the next weeks, as some questions remain open – in particular, whether current non-Dutch speaking Bachelor students are also required to provide proof of Dutch language proficiency level A before graduation. Keep yourself updated with us!

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| Published on: Mar 16, 2016