Student - April 5, 2016

Parliament: why not call ‘hogeschool’ ‘university’?

Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

The majority of the Parliament thinks that ‘hogescholen’ can also be called ‘universities’ in English. A different name can be confusing for foreigners, the VVD, PvdA and CDA fear.

Photo: JvL

Minster Jet Bussemaker of Education wants to better protect the two Dutch terms for institutions in higher eduction, ‘universiteit’ and ‘hogeschool’. If it were up to her the law will soon state exactly which institutions may call themselves this.

She also determined the correct English translations for these Dutch terms: a ‘universiteit’ will be a ‘university’, and a ‘hogeschool’  a ‘university of applied science’. But various parliament groups wonder whether the latter is practical.

The addition of ‘applied science’ can cause confusion internationally, says PvdA.

The addition of ‘applied science’ can cause confusion internationally, says PvdA in a written question session about the legislative proposal. The group wants to know how the minister “estimates the competitive position” of ‘hogescholen’  which are not allowed to use the term ‘university’.

The CDA agrees. The group is afraid that international students are “unintentionally deceived” when ‘hogescholen’ call themselves ‘university of applied science’. The Dutch system is unique: in many other countries all institutions in higher education are named‘universities’, also institutions comparable to ‘hogescholen’.

The VVD is also concerned. The group wonders why the minister is even involved in which English names the Dutch institutions use.

Most countries in the world do not know the term ‘of applied science’
Hein van Oorschot, President of the Executive Board of hogeschool NHTV Breda

This week the President of the Executive board of the hogeschool NHTV Breda had the same reason to object against the legislative proposal. “Most countries in the world do not know the term ‘of applied science’, says Van Oorschot. “Because we have an uncommon name, we constantly have to explain what we are. This is a pity and unnecessary: in many countries abroad there are ‘universities’  of which their level is a lot lower than our ‘hogescholen’.”

The legislative proposal derives from the frustration about the organizations which present themselves as educational institute while their education is not recognized by the government. Students sometimes pay a lot of money for diplomas which are not worth anything.