English-taught education has supporters and opponents. Opponents are concerned that money plays a role in programmes being taught in English: higher education just wants to recruit as many foreign students as possible, they argue. They claim that the quality of the education suffers as a result.

Supporters feel that English-taught education prepares students for the international context in which they will later work. They will have to deal with people from many different countries and cultures, so it’s a good idea to get used to this during the programme. And foreign students are often very motivated, having specifically chosen to study here.


But it all remains rather abstract, because it’s difficult to speak in general terms: even the fierce opponents at Better Education Netherlands, who are launching legal proceedings against the use of English, recognise that some programmes may be best taught in English.

So this political model was the obvious solution: let the programmes explain why. If their explanation is unsatisfactory, the programme has two options: either justify the choice of language better or switch back to Dutch. “In the extreme case, the NVAO can withdraw the accreditation,” writes the Ministry.

Whether this will satisfy opponents depends on whether they feel the inspectors are strict enough and will actually force the programmes to reverse their choice of language.