Legal action threatened over Netherlands’ English-medium teaching

Lobby group says that law requiring classes to be taught in Dutch must be enforced

June 6, 2017
Dutch cheese market

A lobby group is threatening legal action over the growth of courses taught in English in Dutch universities.

The number of English-medium courses at higher education institutions in the Netherlands has expanded significantly in recent years, with one newspaper reporting last year that 60 per cent of undergraduate courses and 70 per cent of master’s programmes at research-intensive universities were now taught in English.

But Dutch law says that education and examinations should be given in Dutch unless there is a good reason not to.

The Beter Onderwijs Nederland organisation, which works to raise educational standards, has said that it will take the government to court over the issue unless it introduces tougher rules insisting that Dutch be used in higher education.

BON’s chairman, Ad Verbrugge, told Dutch News that many lecturers did not speak English well enough to give good lessons, and that local students were suffering as a result.

“They are chucking out Dutch to attract more foreign students,” he said.

In a press release published in Dutch, BON said that numerous higher education institutions flout the law.

“The systematic violation of the law has also been ongoing for many years, largely and to a very serious extent, something that has also been repeatedly raised by critics,” it added.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

Reflection of man in cracked mirror

To defend the values of reason from political attack we need to be more discriminating about the claims made in its name, says John Hendry