In due course, all Maastricht University employees will have to be proficient in both Dutch and English; newly appointed staff should even be so before they start their jobs. This is what rector Gerard Mols said to a committee of the university council last week. Foreign students will also be expected to learn Dutch.
If Mols’ view is accepted by the deans and the university council, this constitutes a considerable tightening of the UM's language policy. Until now, neither foreign employees, nor foreign students were expected to learn Dutch if they were involved exclusively in English programmes. But Mols, and with him the Executive Board, now feels that it is important to “integrate in a Dutch university and Dutch society,” as he said during the discussion of a note from the Language Centre on language proficiency at the UM.
The fact that foreign students would be expected to learn Dutch too, indicates that there has been a turnaround in the rector’s views. In December 2009, he said to the university council: “Is the Dutch language important for foreign students? I do not think it is a condition for integration.” Last week, on the other hand, he argued that even master's students who are only here for a year, should learn Dutch: “For those who do not want to do so, we say: find another university. We will receive 16,000 students next year, so we will have to make a stricter selection.”