News - May 11, 2017

Split on English for BSc degrees

Albert Sikkema

The WUR Council is sharply divided on the introduction of English-taught BSc programmes. Staff are overwhelmingly against the move while most students are in favour, it transpired on 3 May.

Photo: Guy Ackermans

The staff members of the WUR Council believe that fully English-language education in Wageningen will increase the work pressure and reduce the quality of education offered. Teaching in English may well improve students’ English and their chances on the international labour market, but it will have a negative effect on their Dutch language proficiency and competitiveness on the home market, say staff. They put a question of principle to the board: Is WUR a Dutch University with international students or an international university based in the Netherlands? They favour the first option.

Most of the students in the WUR Council see it differently. WUR should focus on global problems and should therefore be able to see issues from a global perspective. For this reason all Wageningen BSc programmes should be taught in English in an international classroom, say the students.

The students do see practical problems for the implementation, including the increase in work pressure and the additional influx of international students. So either way, the WUR Council proposes postponing the move. The board wants to introduce five English-taught BSc programmes from September 2018, but the WUR Council wants to see a thorough impact analysis first.

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