We're only unclogging the 'brain circulation' (2 of 2)

April 19, 2012

Nicola Dandridge is correct in only one respect in her assessment of the coverage of Dutch universities in the British media. British students are not yet flocking to the Netherlands, nor are they ever likely to in the magnitude that recent articles might suggest. Full undergraduate degrees abroad will only ever be the right choice for a minority of Britons, no matter how expensive UK university education becomes. However, the growth in UK numbers applying to Dutch universities has been spectacular, and this is newsworthy.

We work with 16 Dutch universities. Early indications from them suggest that there will be around 1,000 British enrolments this September. Whether this will lead to a multiplier effect cannot be known, but in any case it is unlikely to pose an existential threat to British universities. None of the institutions we work with sees the UK as a market for mass recruitment; however, achieving parity with the number of Dutch students at UK universities is surely in the interests of both countries.

Dandridge largely misses the point with regard to the cost of studying in the Netherlands. Mainstream media articles are unlikely to focus on the public funding of higher education and it is irrelevant to students and parents trying to assess the impact on their own finances. In our experience, Britons studying in the Netherlands are not motivated by cost alone.

The notion that students have been bamboozled by "double Dutch" marketing speak is insulting. They are researching their choices in much the same way as they always have: the difference is that there is greater choice available to them now. Blaming Dutch universities for the sensationalist aspects of their portrayal in the British media is unfair. The plain, unvarnished truth is readily available to any student or parent who looks for it.

Mark Huntington, Managing director, A Star Future Ltd

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