“Parliament is damaging higher education”

“Parliament is damaging higher education”

Group of Presidents, including Rianne Letschert, takes firm stance against Parliament in opinion piece

07-12-2022 · News

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands must not chase off international students; they are not a problem, but “part of the solution,” Rianne Letschert, President of Maastricht University, argues together with seven colleagues from universities and universities of applied sciences in an opinion piece in Dutch newspaper NRC this week.

Before the summer, education minister Dijkgraaf thwarted the bill Taal en Toegankelijkheid (Language and Accessibility) that higher education could use to regulate the influx of foreign students. There will be a new plan, Dijkgraaf promised. But Parliament is impatient, as became clear during a debate on internationalisation at the end of November. Accessibility of higher education is under pressure, some said. Parliament reckons that universities and universities of applied sciences first need to stop actively recruiting foreign students.

According to Letschert and seven other Presidents (four universities of applied sciences and three universities – Groningen, Tilburg and Twente), Parliament is a poor judge of what international students contribute to the Dutch “economy and innovation capacity”. Where is the Netherlands going to find a hundred thousand professionals to fill the labour market shortages over the next years? So, whereas Germany is introducing an “active immigration policy” to deal with the expected labour market shortages, the Dutch Parliament wants a recruitment stop for foreign students. “Ill-considered,” the Presidents conclude.

In addition, Parliament is forgetting that some institutes have had “an international profile for years”, they write. Maastricht University, for example. “With one round of raising hands, Parliament is causing serious problems for these institutes.” Parliament is damaging higher education, the group of international students and therefore also the Dutch economy, was the conclusion.


Author: Wendy Degens

Photo: Joey Roberts

Categories: News, news_top
Tags: foreign students, internationalisation,Parliament,rianne letschert

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