Dutch internationalization agenda: international experience for quarter of students
November 24, 2008 Leave a Comment
Dutch institutions that offer courses abroad will be allowed to award Dutch diplomas in the future. Furthermore, the international experience of Dutch students needs to increase significantly. According to the Ministry of Education 17% of students now go abroad for a period of study. In 2013 this should be 25%.
The Minister for Education, Ronald Plasterk, revealed this in the long-awaited internationalization agenda entitled ‘Het Grenzeloze Goed’ (literally translated: the borderless good).
Plasterk aims to stimulate and facilitate internationalization. Over the next five years he will reserve €8 million to encourage international internships. Apart from that he will put aside 8.6 million for lecturers who want to teach abroad for a limited amount of time. The focus will be on excellence. The government will support bilateral cooperation with countries to which researchers or institutions have difficulty getting access. He mentions China as an example.
International classroom and International Mind Fund
International students coming to the Netherlands contribute to the emergence of an international classroom, where Dutch students get to know other cultures. This is also something Mr Plasterk wants to encourage, which is why he has instigated the further development of an International Mind Fund. This means that Dutch banks lend money to students from outside the European Economic Area with the government underwriting the loan. The idea of an International Mind Fund came from Nuffic’s Director-General Sander van den Eijnden.
Improve facilities for international students
The ministry will keep a close eye on the experiences and opinions of international students. Over the next five years 2.8 million will be put aside to improve facilities for this group. Apart from that the minister plans to collect best practices of service to international students and researchers. The Dutch Parliament will discuss the internationalization agenda on 8 December.
Criticism on internationalization agenda
In a joint response several organizations in the education sector, including the VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands), the HBO-raad (Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences) and the LSVb (the national students union), have declared that they share the analysis and goals set out in the internationalization agenda. However, the sector organizations believe there is a sharp contrast between the financial paragraph and the minister’s ambitions. In addition, they see a need for a government-wide approach to be able to make real progress in terms of internationalization.
Source: Transfer magazine via NUFFIC, 17 November 2008