Universities want to control the influx of international students, according to a memorandum of VSNU. Wageningen understands that wish but is content with the current ratio of international and Dutch students at the university.
© Guy Ackermans
Today, the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), a collaboration between all universities in the Netherlands, will send an internationalisation agenda to Ingrid van Engelshoven, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science. This agenda mentions that the universities want to be able to put a halt to the influx of students from abroad, as mentioned by the Dutch newspaper NRC (linked article in Dutch). According to the piece, the total number of students at the fourteen Dutch universities has increased by 10 percent since 2013 – from 250,000 to 275,000. International bachelor’s and master’s student represent two thirds of this growth.
According to Wageningen University & Research spokesperson Simon Vink, VSNU’s memorandum mentions a ‘multitude of issues regarding the internationalisation policy’. ‘The influx of international students is one of them, but so is the basic financing of education to Dutch students which has been lacking.’
This second point is also a problem for Wageningen, says Vink. ‘But the international classroom is one of the starting points of our education. The issues that WUR deals with have an international nature, and that is the context in which we teach.’ However, some programmes and universities focus on the Dutch market, and they lack the tools to control the influx, according to Vink. ‘The problems regarding the influx of international students vary per institution and programme. We do not have too many international students arriving; the percentage has been stable for at least ten years. We support the wish of others for a better nuanced and differentiated internationalisation policy per institution or faculty. The current measures are much too generic.’
At the moment, WUR has approximately 12,000 students; half of whom are master’s students. Of this group, about 40 percent are internationals. Starting September, the number of international students following bachelor’s programmes is expected to grow as well, as the university will start offering five bachelor's programmes taught entirely in English for the very first time.