Thursday, March 26, 2009

Increase in English Instruction Decreases the Quality of Dutch Higher Education

I just read a very interesting article (in English) from March 20th on the NRC Handelsblad website about the concern among many Dutch intellectuals on the increased use of English in Dutch higher education. According the article, the idea to make English the official language of instruction in Dutch universities was first proposed by Jo Ritzen, Education Minister, back in 1990.

Following is a snippet from the article that I found interesting:

Internationalisation is the magic word everywhere. Education has become an export product and a university’s competitiveness is measured, particularly by the executive boards, by the number of foreign students it hosts. At many faculties, deans are charged with tasks like organising partnerships and student and faculty exchange programmes with universities around the world.

“It is part of globalisation,” says Gerry Wakker, deputy dean of education and internationalisation in Groningen. "More and more people are working abroad for a long or short time or they are studying there for a year. We prepare them for that by creating groups of students that are as mixed as possible."

I encourage IHEC Blog readers to check out this article here. What do you think about this trend in Dutch higher education?


  1. Laura Montgomery, DAAD New YorkMarch 31, 2009 at 9:24 AM

    Fascinating! I'll be keeping a close eye on whether similar studies come out about English instruction and education quality at universities in German. At the end of January I read news about scholarly German being "on its deathbed". reported that only one percent of scientific works are published in German.

  2. @Laura - Thank you for your comment. It will be interesting to see what happens with English instruction in German higher education. Also, thank you for the link to the article on Scholarly German dying out. It was very intersting and I posted a link to the article on Twitter at