Student - February 26, 2009

NO FUND FOR STUDENTS FROM THE SOUTH

The government will not be fulfilling a wish expressed in the Tweede Kamer (the lower house of the Dutch parliament) for a new fund to enable students from developing countries to study in the Netherlands.

MP Ed Anker of the Christian Union party wondered why the Netherlands only recruits the very best students from developing countries. Anker thought that Dutch higher education should make a more generous contribution to development, so he tabled a motion proposing that students should also be sponsored who may be less outstanding but who ‘badly need’ the education and who come from countries ‘that badly need it’ too.

But Minister Plasterk hasn’t got the money and doesn’t see the need for such a fund. Top students can already obtain a scholarship through the Huygens Scholarship Programme. What is more, universities and other higher education institutions are free to use their own internationalization budget to recruit students from developing countries. Plasterk also points out that students from outside Europe can apply to the EU’s Erasmus Mundus Programme. It was learned last week that this programme will have almost one billion euros to spend over the coming four years – 450 million more than in the 2004-2008 period, in which ten thousand grants were awarded.
For ‘mid-career professionals’ there is the Netherlands Fellowship Programme. The advantage of this programme, according to the government, is that ‘there is a bigger chance that people return to their countries after following the programme in the Netherlands than there is with students’.

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