MAASTRICHT. It looks like more languages than just English and Dutch will soon be promoted at this university. A few weeks ago, the Executive Board, through its chairman Martin Paul, already stated that the UM may be bilingual, “but it is useful to teach people three languages. Students as well as staff. Which languages exactly, to what degree – you don’t necessarily need to be completely fluent, a certain degree of fluency is sufficient – and how it should be financed, are things we are still thinking about. One option might be to hand out vouchers. No matter what, language policies will be important in the upcoming Strategic Programme.”
Martin Paul said this to the University Council’s strategy committee. Student member Franca Feisel presented a note on language policies to the plenary University Council meeting last week. She pointed out that only Basic Dutch courses were free for students; useful but with a limited scope. For better access to the labour market, whether regional, national or international, a better command of Dutch and other languages is equally important. Feisel argued for free (i.e. UM-funded) courses in English, French, German and Spanish. To prevent all-too-easy ‘dropouts’ it is probably useful to have students pay at the start and reimburse their fees after they have obtained their diploma, she suggests. A market survey – what is the extent of the need – would also be useful.
The Board kindly accepted the suggestions, but responded with the by now familiar reference to the new Strategic Programme. Serious discussions will take place after the programme has been completed.