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Language proficiency by law? On a new bill for university programmes in the Netherlands
Start: 16/11/2023, 13:00
End: 16/11/2023, 14:30
Contact:Susan Lotz by 13 November - 021 808 4646
Location: 7 Bosman Street, Room 1005, or online

​In July 2023, Dutch Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf presented a proposal for a new bill called 'Internationalisation in Balance'. With this new bill, the Minister aims at not only regulating the inflow of foreign students into Dutch universities, but also at promoting language proficiency in Dutch – among both Dutch-speaking students and students who speak little or no Dutch at the commencement of their studies.

The Minister wishes to establish effort obligations for all Dutch and foreign students in international programmes conducted in English at Dutch universities to increase their proficiency in Dutch. In undergraduate programs, such students will have to spend 140 hours within the curriculum learning to speak and write Dutch. In graduate programmes, 56 hours will be required for this purpose, to be spent within or outside the curriculum. There will not be any such effort obligations in programmes conducted in Dutch, however, the university administration will still be required to indicate how students' language proficiency would be fostered in those programmes. Assessment of the language proficiency level of these students will also be included in the overall programme assessment.

The Minister further wishes all Dutch universities to follow the 'Reference Framework' that was published in 2022 by a group of experts from the Dutch Language Union. As a member of this group, Prof Jansen will discuss the Reference Framework recommendations and the research that lead to these recommendations.

The presentation will conclude with a discussion of questions including the effects that a bill such as this may have on the promotion of multilingualism at universities and on the accessibility of academic studies to a diverse group of students.​