That the Maastricht city council should communicate more in English with foreign students, is supported by almost all fractions of the Maastricht city council. But they have a problem with the timing of the Christian Democrats' (CDA) proposal. That’s why it was removed from the agenda of the city council meeting last Tuesday.
“They all sympathise with the idea of improving communications with international students, but they will not give their political support at the moment,” says CDA member Jimmy Bastings. “One wants more details of the financial consequences, another wants us to first talk with the civil servants of departments involved.” The note was introduced almost two months ago. “We will rewrite it and come back with it later, probably in March.”
Bastings: “The city council communicates far too little in English - on its website, in brochures and in other printed information sources. Foreign students have a hard time trying to find information on the city council website. Living with each other starts by communicating with each other in a language that both parties understand.” As an example, he refers to the invitation for the city council’s New Year reception. “It’s written in Dutch, but it’s a nice event, also for foreign students who can’t read it now.”
The Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) wants to include the communication proposal in an integral approach of the Maastricht student policy. In September, they held a conference for everyone interested in student policies, such as students, Maastricht University, Hogeschool Zuyd, the police, the city council, neighbourhood platforms, sports organisations, et cetera. “Countless organisations do their own thing now instead of working together; this also applies to communications,” says Antoine van Lune, city councillor for the PvdA. “So we say: wait till we have an integral plan, hopefully in May next year, and don’t act in an ad hoc way, as we have been doing the last twelve years.” Roos Marie Bal of the GroenLinks party agrees: “We want to get rid of fragmentation. Do it once, come up with student policies, and do it well.”