Wageningen University is studying whether, like other programmes, its Bachelors should be taught in English from now on. This is part of the Strategic Plan. The question whether it is wise to start teaching in English right from the first year has been under consideration for some time.
A 2013 report about the university’s policy of internationalization announced a discussion about the value and necessity of English-taught Bachelors. The university still has not reached a decision, confirms Tiny van Boekel, managing director of the Education Institute ‘Although we have discussed the pros and cons of an English-taught Bachelor’s, we’re still at the opinion-forming stage.’
English-taught Bachelors have the benefit of making the university even more international, bringing foreign students into the Bachelor’s phase. This is a very appealing prospect for a number of programmes. Moreover, it would enable lecturers from abroad to also teach in the early academic years.
‘Arguments against English-taught Bachelors,’ says Van Boekel, ‘are that the selection process becomes much more difficult, large differences between preparatory programmes may result, and Dutch school pupils could be deterred by a programme taught fully in English from day one.’ Nor will programmes whose student numbers have risen strongly be keen to have a foreign intake. Tourism is currently the only fully English-taught Bachelor’s programme.