Netherland’s Minister Of Education Requests Halt On International Students’ Admission

The Dutch Minister of Education, Culture, and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf, has sent a letter to all public universities in the Netherlands, asking them to immediately stop admitting international students. 

This comes after a parliamentary motion, led by Peter Kwint and Harry van der Molen, was passed that called on Dijkgraaf to limit international student recruitment efforts.

The letter emphasized the significance of international students but noted that the pressure on teaching staff, lack of facilities, and shortage of housing has necessitated the request. 

Dijkgraaf stated that in the long term, this could also affect the sustainability, affordability, and quality of the Dutch higher education system.

Specific programs exempted: Dijkgraaf has advised universities to follow a framework that requires a complete stop to operations aimed at attracting foreign students, except for highly selective and targeted recruitment for programs that address regional shortages in the fields of healthcare, research, and education. 

Universities are also responsible for helping these students find post-graduate employment in areas where there is a shortage of qualified candidates.

Opposition to the move: Many stakeholders, including a group of university chairs, have already expressed opposition to the parliamentary motion. Wittenborg, a business school in Apeldoorn, has opposed the decision to halt the recruitment of international students. 

The business school, which has 1,200 students from 100 different countries and operates entirely in English, argued that as a privately funded institution that can invest in and construct its student housing, it should be allowed to continue with its operations.

A letter from the university stated that it guarantees all new students a place to stay and comfortable housing and that it has never had a problem accommodating its 300-400 new students each year. 

It also highlighted the value of internationalism for the Netherlands and stated that limiting international students sends the wrong message and goes against Dutch liberalism. 

The letter suggested making a clear distinction between taxpayer-funded EU students and the smaller group of fee-paying non-EU students.

Impact on students from Nigeria: Nigeria has been showing increasing interest in studying in the Netherlands, along with the UK. However, this ban would make it a more difficult choice for potential students from Nigeria. 

The Netherlands could increase its housing capacity and recruit more teaching staff to reduce the pressure on current staff and make it a more attractive option for potential students from Nigeria.


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