Minister wanted to wait

Inspectorate surprised by UvA’s cap on international students

Internationalisering: taal Foto: Shutterstock, illustratie DUB
Illustration: Shutterstock / DUB

For years, UvA was a popular university among international students, but now it says it can no longer cope with the number of students from abroad (link in Dutch, Ed.). This led the university to take action in anticipation of a new law designed to give the higher education sector more mechanisms to contain the influx of international students. UvA’s Executive Board introduced a quota for the English-taught track of its Bachelor’s programme in Psychology, with the aim to increase the proportion of Dutch students in the programme.

As reported by the Dutch newspaper Het Parool, the measure proved effective: the proportion of Dutch-speaking freshers in the Psychology programme rose from 29 to 53 percent. Geert ten Dam, President of UvA's Executive Board, is positive about the measure. “We have been asking for this for a long time”, she tells the paper, “and the results show that universities can use this measure to regulate their intake if necessary.”

Unexpected Robbert Dijkgraaf, the outgoing Minister of Education of the Netherlands, wanted universities to wait until the law was amended before taking action. His bill intends to provide higher education institutions with tools to limit international admissions, including a student quota for English-taught tracks. Selecting students on the basis of nationality or language is currently not allowed. But UvA went ahead regardless. 

A spokesperson for the inspectorate said it didn't expect the university to carry out its plans, given the minister’s objections. “We thought they were simply stating their aims. But now, it looks like they have also acted on them. We are currently considering what to do about the situation.”