Are Dutch students being 'ousted'?

University of Amsterdam wants to have fewer foreign students

Photo: Pixnio

More and more foreign students are choosing to study at Dutch universities. As a result, Dutch students who are interested in enrolling in popular programmes that only accept a certain number of students are seeing their chances of getting in dwindle. UvA Chair Geert ten Dam told NRC that Dutch students are being "ousted".

Stemming the influx
For years, Dutch universities have been asking the government for "instruments" that would allow them to make a distinction between international students and Dutch students, in order to manage the influx properly. They claim this is necessary for popular programmes such as Psychology.

However, a draft bill that would make that happen got stuck in the Senate because of the fall of the previous cabinet. The bill proposed that higher education institutions would be allowed to set a limit on the number of first-year students in the programmes offered in English. This way, they wouldn't be discriminating in terms of nationality during admission, but they would still be able to stem the influx of foreign students.

In the waste bin
The new Minister of Education, Robbert Dijkgraaf, tossed the bill into the waste bin as finds that it is necessary to give the matter some more thought. The University of Amsterdam would therefore like to anticipate any new legislation with an "experiment". But they need the consent of the minister first.

In an interview with news agency HOP earlier this year, Dijkgraaf explained himself: “I can fill up the toolkit and then every farmer can patrol their own section of the dike, but that doesn’t mean the dike will be well protected. We need to have a national strategy when it comes to internationalisation: what do we want to achieve together? Such a strategy is lacking right now.”

Although the majority of Dutch universities would like to restrict the influx of international students, there are still some that don't. Rianne Letschert, President of Maastricht University, tells NRC that the desire to restrict the number of foreign students leaves her with a “nasty taste in her mouth”.