Student - 15 januari 2015

COMPULSORY DUTCH COURSE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS?

International students should be encouraged to stay in the Netherlands, and a compulsory Dutch language course could help, says conservative parliamentarian Pieter Duisenberg. Minister Bussemakers wonder whether making it compulsory wouldn’t put people off. So: should a Dutch language course be compulsory for foreign students?

Pieter Duisenberg - Member of Parliament (VVD)

Pieter Duisenberg

‘Politicians are quick to assume that a language course would put students off, but actually international students often regret not doing more to learn the language.

That is a pity. I want to see as much internationalization as possible in education. But it is win-win for Dutch and foreign students, if they take an elementary course in Dutch. Now it either doesn’t happen at all or it’s too optional. Twelve weeks, with three hours a week, would suffice. And it would increase the chances

of student staying on here after their studies. Now most students leave the Netherlands after their studies. We badly need foreign talent. So what would help? Excellent international degree programmes and a visa extension to look for work. And the key factor for staying on after the course: a basic command of Dutch. Make it a bit less optional than it is now. Is that too much to ask? The Netherlands invests in every student. Put them off? Nonsense. It’s simply win-win.’

 


Hetty van der Stoep - Study advisor MSc Landscape Architecture and Planning

Hetty van der Stoep

‘The arguments for Duisenberg’s proposal raise questions. On what does he base his statement that students don’t stay because they are not taken on by employees for language reasons? Has there been any research on that? The growth of the WUR is largely thanks to foreign students. Some of the foreign students on our programmes are aiming at a better job or a career in science in their own countries. They don’t need Dutch for that. The knowledge economy isn’t based on the Dutch language. I think we’d be better off investing in the standard of communication in English among international students, as well as giving them the opportunity to do a Dutch course. That strikes me as a more liberal approach that fits the VVD better than a patronizing proposal like this.’

 

Mohammed Mohandis -Member of Parliament (PvdA)

Mohammed Mohandis

‘That kind of language course is totally irrelevant to remaining a popular destination for top international talent. In the academic world, English is the language of communication anyway, as it is of most of the teaching material on Master’s courses. Pieter’s plan is outdated and ignores the globalization of the academic world in which English is the lingua franca. Of course we want students to settle here after their courses, but making language courses compulsory will have the opposite effect. It will put students off, and few of them will choose to study in the Netherlands in the first place. Fortunately the minister responded critically to the plan, and we share her view that a language course of that kind for foreign university students is undesirable.’

 

Sylvia van der Weerden - Head Wageningen in’to Languages

Sylvia van der Weerden

‘Wageningen in’to Languages fully supports the idea that all foreign students should take a Dutch course, combined with intercultural skills. To fit in here in the Netherlands and perhaps stay here long-term, it is very important to have a basic knowledge of the Dutch language and culture. They will look back on their time in Wageningen more positively if they were better able to integrate. That way you feel more welcome. You can get a long way in a short time. We advise taking a minimum of two or three courses in order to reach a basic level with which you can get by pretty well. You won’t get as much out of just one course, but it does cover several cultural issues. Compulsory is a big word. Wageningen UR encourages students to take a language course and does not charge much for it.’

 

René Hoogendam -Study advisor Molecular Life Sciences

René Hoogendam

‘It is useful in this context to distinguish between Bachelor’s and Master’s students. For Master’s students I think it’s simple: a compulsory Dutch course would go against Wageningen University’s international character. It would put foreign students off choosing this university for their Master’s. For Bachelor’s students it’s a different story. Since part of the course is taught in Dutch, a command of the language is an important criterion. Some German students have to take a Dutch course in order to be admitted. At the Bachelor’s stage, a language course is in fact already compulsory at Wageningen. In my view it can stay that way. I don’t think the influx of foreign students would increase much if we started teaching BSc courses in English. And the material the first-years have to learn is hard enough already, without making it harder unnecessarily.’


Reacties 5

  • Mark Reijerman

    Resource asks you to write a piece for their journal. You finally agree, read about the subject ask peoples opinions and they don't even post you on the website.
    Well since it's written with help of friends:

    “Gorgias argued that language could represent neither the objective experience nor human experience, and that communication and truth were therefore impossible” #wikipediasoitslegit. Zelf gebruik ik taal om de maatschappij te erkennen en voor mijzelf te bevestigen dat ik er deel van uit maak. Als je in Nederland geen Nederlands spreekt sluit je je af voor communicatie uit kranten, nieuws en de ‘gewone Nederlander’. Maar, wees eerlijk, welke student doet dat niet? Bij studeren gaat het om jouw interesses, wat jij ervaart, wat jij leert, laat dat alsjeblieft ook je eigen keuze blijven.

    Maar als Duisenberg, vanwege financiële belangen, toch wil dat er meer buitenlandse studenten de Nederlandse taal leren, dan zijn er wellicht ook nog andere middelen mogelijk. Je zou bijvoorbeeld buitenlandse studenten gelijke prijzen kunnen laten betalen als Nederlandse studenten, nu zou ik voor een Nederlandse taal cursus €90,- betalen. Een Russische vriend, die ook in Wageningen studeert, maar bij zijn eigen universiteit staat ingeschreven zou €450,- moeten betalen.

  • Anja

    Internationale studenten komen naar Wageningen voor hun studie. Dat ze daarmee ook in Nederland komen te wonen, is een logisch gevolg, maar geen keuze. Trouwens, er zijn beursprogramma's die eisen dat de student na het behalen van het diploma weer teruggaat naar het eigen land. Keuze bieden voor taalcursus is prima, maar met verplicht stellen sla je de plank mis. Hoezo minder regels?

  • Bastiaan Meerburg (vice-fractievoorzitter en Statenlid VVD Gelderland)

    Ik denk dat het waardevol is als buitenlandse studenten aan hogescholen en universiteiten tijdens hun verblijf in ons land Nederlands leren. Dat is ook het doel van VVD-Tweede Kamerlid Pieter Duisenberg: hij wil proberen zoveel mogelijk hoogopgeleide mensen na de studie in ons land te houden, zodat wij ook de vruchten van hen kunnen plukken. Dat Nederlands daarbij helpt, is zeker. Ik ken van mijn studie vroeger een aantal prima buitenlandse studenten, die inmiddels volledig geïntegreerd zijn in onze samenleving en ik vind dat fantastisch. Maar ik denk dat het beter is om het aan te moedigen, dan het te verplichten. Verplichten werkt waarschijnlijk niet doordat men eerder zal kiezen voor een universiteit in een ander land. Ik zou dat zelf als buitenlandse student ook doen, denk ik, omdat ook ik niet zo van dwang houd.

  • Fiona

    De VVD van tegenwoordig alles behalve liberaal. Ik stel voor dat we alle internationale studenten verplicht uitleggen dat vrijheid in Nederland betekent verplicht allerlei dingen doen omdat politici daarmee een verplichte vraag creëren voor de producten die hun vriendjes in het bedrijfsleven verkopen. Vrije markt in Nederland is gedwongen winkelnering en hoge salarissen en weinig belasting voor de leveranciers van die anders niet verkoopbare producten.

  • De Griek

    International students should focus on speaking proper English (actually most Dutch as well...) , so to learn Dutch at the same time is very confusing and useless.


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