Lawsuit against Anglicisation

Better Education Netherlands (BON) is suing the state for the Anglicisation of higher education, says board member Felix Huygen.
By Peter Keizer / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

According to Huygens, having English as a working language is destroying higher education, and it is against the law, he writes in an op-ed in de Volkskrant on Wednesday.

‘In spite of the poor argumentation of managers, the rate at which education is Anglicised has only increased. Research universities and universities of applied sciences are being led by the logic of cash rather than the common good. If politicians don’t intervene and turn this trend around, there will be only one tool left to us: the court’, Huygen writes.

Student organisation Interurban Student Consultation (ISO) supports Huygen and will be following the lawsuit closely. ‘To think we can just snap our fingers and make all our education English while maintaining the quality is just foolish’, says chair Rhea van der Dong.

‘We are afraid that in attracting international students, universities do not have quality in mind, but their bottom line. A student from Beijing brings in more cash than a student from Bunschoten’, says Van der Dong.


According to Huygen, Anglicisation is leaching education of all profundity. ‘During my master programme classical languages (today called classics and ancient civilisations), I personally experienced the trail of destruction of Anglicisation in education. Both students and professors (who were excellent, by the way) had no problem routinely discussing Aristotle’s views on democracy and their relevance to our current situation on a high level in the Dutch bachelor, but that changed when they started the English language master.’

BON is referring to article 7.2 of the higher education legislation, which says that education and exams should be in Dutch, unless it pertains a guest lecture or if ‘the specific nature, design, or quality of the education or the background of the students necessitates it’. ‘This legislation is currently not being complied with’, Huygen concludes.

The RUG also increasingly provides programmes in English. The English language programmes are very popular among international students. Some of the English language programmes at the Science and Engineering and Spatial Sciences faculties will probably also be taught at the new campus from 2019 onwards.



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