Student - May 15, 2008

Wageningen will go bilingual

English will not become the only language of communication at Wageningen UR. After discussions with the Joint Student Staff Council (GV), the Executive Board has decided to adjust its ambitions. Wageningen will become bilingual.

In an implementation plan, the Executive Board set out a step-wise introduction of English as the language for different forms of communication. The GV was critical of the Board’s plan, saying it did not sufficiently analyse the language problems and solutions to these. In addition, the GV said that the Executive Board had not budgeted enough money to implement the plan. The Wageningen UR language centre would also not be able to cope with an increased demand for English courses.

Chairman of the Executive Board, Aalt Dijkhuizen, had already made it known that he wanted a ‘pragmatic’ approach to the implementation. ‘Of course you don’t have to speak English in a meeting where only Dutch speakers are present. We have also planned a number of evaluation moments. If we notice that a measure is not working as we intended, obviously we won’t continue with it.’

The GV made it known in a letter three weeks ago that it does not agree with the Board’s proposal, but accepts the proposal for the first phase of the plan: growth towards bilingualism. The Executive Board responded that it has shelved the more radical plans for the time being. ‘We have removed the goal of English as the only language out of our plan. After examining whether this is feasible, we concluded that the organisation is not yet ripe for more than bilingualism.’

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