Opening academic year
The Dutch minister of development cooperation Agnes van Ardenne says she is shocked at the plans of the secretary of state for education Mark Rutte to stop financing students from outside the EU. During her speech to mark the opening of the academic year at Wageningen University this week she promised to search for solutions together with Rutte, and come up with a proposal to continue support to students from poor countries within a few months.
A spokesman for the minister added some footnotes later. ‘The minister was jumping the gun a little. She wants to examine the conditions laid down in the new proposal first. She does not intend to finance misuse; only students who are not able to finance their own study should be helped.’ The government’s plans to scrap subsidies to non-EU students will save it about twenty million euros. It is not yet clear where Van Ardenne is going to find the money to fill this gap.
Earlier on in the opening ceremony in the Aula Dr Aalt Dijkhuizen, chairman of Wageningen UR, said that the leading position Wageningen holds in internationalisation is under threat with the new proposals. ‘We have a relatively large number of international students, and such a big cut would not go unnoticed here. What’s worse is that it will considerably reduce the future chances for young people from less fortunate parts of the world.’ /JT
See also the editorial, Brain gain or brain drain?