10:46 GMT +316 January 2019
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    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Dutch Educationalists Up in Arms Over Spread of English in Universities

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    Education officials in the Netherlands are worried about a vast number of English-language university courses in the country.

    The country’s largest lecturers' union, Beter Onderwijs Nederland (BON), is pointing to what it sees as a looming "linguicide" of the Dutch language and is suing the Universities of Twente and Maastricht for their “unreasonable” effort to anglicize courses, Deutsche Welle reported.

    Two master's degree psychology courses in both universities are offered exclusively in English by both universities, a practice seen by BON as an alarming sign of "impoverishment" and a "dangerous abandonment" of the Dutch vernacular.

    Education Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven is more complacent however and warns against becoming too inward looking.

    "We must not let ourselves be scared by stories in which internationalization is something negative which is swamping us," she said responding to some of her colleagues’ calls  to check the uncontrolled spread of courses taught in English.

    "I represent an open Dutch society in which we dare to look beyond the borders," van Engelshoven added.

    The large number of degree courses taught in English and low tuition fees form EEA nationals make the Netherlands attractive to international students.

    Even though bachelor's degrees in the Netherlands are mostly taught in Dutch, 74 percent of master's courses are offered in English.

    READ MORE: Britain's Tongue-Lashing: Brexit Could Cost the English Language Its Clout

    With foreigners accounting for a quarter of students obtaining a master's degree, critics fear that one day they may eventually displace Dutch students.

    The Netherlands has been named the country with the highest English proficiency among non-native speaking countries.


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