In response to questions from the PVV, Dutch education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven has asserted that international students cannot “displace” Dutch students at universities.
Translation by Traci White
Kees Praagman, educational director at the faculty of economics and business at the University of Groningen, told the Dagblad van het Noorden that there is no such thing as international students displacing Dutch students. “It’s a nonsense argument”, he says. The Bologna Declaration dictates that European students are all equally eligible to attend university in any member state country.
Engelshoven’s comments were in response to parliamentary questions posed by Harm Beertema, an MP representing the far right PVV (Freedom Party). “I don’t want the increasing numbers of foreign students to take places that would otherwise go to Dutch students, and I don’t want Dutch students to be limited in their academic programme options”, Beertema stated.
Praagman did concede in remarks to the Financieel Dagblad that the growing number of students is leading to challenges at the university, such as limited space for exams and lectures and difficulty managing a good student-to-staff ratio.
The University of Groningen is considering introducing a cap on the number of students who can enrol in the International Business programme next year, as well as potentially enforcing other admission requirements, such as achieving at least a 7 on secondary school exams. If a so-called numerus fixus comes into effect, Beertema says he would like to see Dutch students be given preferential treatment.
In response to Beertema, minister Van Engelshoven said that she would look into ways to influence the incoming student population numbers, but admitted that it would be difficult in light of the laws dictating that Dutch and foreign students be treated equally.
The University of Groningen continues to grow in popularity among international students, due in part to the institution’s performance in a number of well-respected rankings: the RUG is currently in 59thplace in the Academic Ranking of World Universities and 66thin the Shanghai ranking.
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