“An academic study programme that offers insufficient international perspective misses quality and relevance for the labour market and society,” wrote the rectores magnifici. They did, however, emphasise that balance is essential. They identified three basic principles for this: quality, customisation and inclusivity.
'University must be open'
For universities nobody can dispute that internationalisation must contribute to the quality of education and research. Moreover, they emphasise that customisation is vital: “A doctor working in the Netherlands also treats patients from other countries, a lawyer supports both multinationals and SMEs in sales markets across the world, and an astronomist not only looks across country borders, but can also study the universe thanks to knowledge and infrastructure sharing with international partners.” Finally, the rectors suggest that internationalisation and inclusivity go hand in hand: “The university must be open and accessible […] for all students and scientists: irrespective of origin, status, religious or sexual orientation and whether your parents went to higher education or whether you’re the first in your family to attend university.”
“The Netherlands is an open country and needs to stay that way. We sincerely hope that the politicians and government acknowledge this and that they help us to seek a good balance in our national and international orientation. Both are necessary,” concluded the university administrators in their editorial.
On Wednesday, the Dutch House of Representatives will discuss the Language and Accessibility Bill from Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven. This bill introduces various measures including ensuring that the official language of university study programmes is in principle Dutch, unless there is added value in deviating from this.