VSSD: ‘numerus clausus for international students’

Student union VSSD calls for measures to be taken about the influx of international students. “That influx should not be at the expense of the Dutch students”, says Vice-Chairwoman Jeannine Frijns.

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A new board for student union VSSD: what are your main goals for this academic year?

“We are especially committed to the accessibility of education. TU Delft should remain accessible to Dutch students. There should be a good balance between Dutch and international students at universities. Systems may be required to cap the influx of international students.” 

What do you think would be the right balance?

“I don’t have figures and the situation needs to be analysed. We are not against international students – students can learn a lot about each other’s cultures – it’s just that the quality of education is more important than internationalisation. Dutch student must have the opportunity to study in the Netherlands. The influx of international students should not be at the expense of Dutch students.” 

Do you think that this is what is happening now?

“As soon as the language of instruction is switched to English, universities may be forced to select students, as was the case with computer science. There is a numerus clausus now because of the high influx of international students. This limit to numbers also affects Dutch students, because they have to go through the selection process too.  It would be nice if the numerus clausus were only for international students.”         

That won’t be allowed, because of the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of nationality.

“It is up to the government to look at that. I think Dutch students should have access to Dutch universities. More money needs to be invested in universities of technology. There is a growing number of students and there is a growing demand for engineers so there are economic implications if this demand is not met. More structurally funding is needed.”

Executive Board Chairman Tim van der Hagen lobbied for that in Het Financieele Dagblad newspaper. He said that ‘if this continues, we will have to become a smaller university and stop providing certain studies.’ What does VSSD think about that?

“There is a demand for engineers, so I think TU Delft should not limit its courses. More money has to be invested so that course don’t have to be stopped.”

Should English medium programmes be taught in Dutch again?

“If you don’t speak Dutch you cannot study in the Netherlands until the programme is taught in English. Sometimes there is even a numerus clausus in Dutch medium programmes. Solve that problem first with extra money. Then concentrate on the quality of a curriculum. After that, see whether it is possible to teach in English.”

Do you notice Dutch students being hindered by the anglicisation of education?

“Speaking for myself, I would not have chosen the molecular science & technology bachelor programme if it were taught in English. My English was not good enough when I finished high school. I would certainly have been hindered.”

What other topics are important for VSSD this year?

“Last year we carried out a research project looking at stress factors among students. The results will be shared soon. We support the idea of the Minister to lower the standard for the binding recommendation on continuation of studies (bsa) to 40 credit points. The bsa surely is one of the stress factors.”

Do you experience that yourself?

“Yes. Some courses have more credit points than others. If you fail these tests, you may not start another course. The effect is cumulative, so there is a great pressure. That’s not okay.”

News editor Connie van Uffelen

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