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‘Give foreign high flyers a scholarship’

Dutch universities and universities of applied sciences are hoping to bring back scholarships for gifted foreign students. If we don’t, the Netherlands will price itself out of the market, they warn.

Up until 2012, highly talented foreign students wanting to study in the Netherlands were offered scholarships under the Dutch Huygens Scholarship Programme. These scholarships were subsequently terminated, whereas countries such as Great Britain, Finland, Sweden and Germany still offer similar programmes. Dutch universities and universities of applied sciences are now hoping to reintroduce such scholarships here.

Improved branding of dutch education
They have expressed this ambition in a joint position on internationalisation, which was presented to Minister of Education Bussemaker. They furthermore advocate the improved branding of Dutch higher education abroad, during trade missions, for instance.

In the opinion of these universities and universities of applied sciences, foreign students coming to the Netherlands would benefit Dutch education as a whole. Their presence teaches students how to interact with different cultures. The globalisation of the labour market requires Dutch students to hone their international skills.

Improve educational practises
In order to achieve this, the institutions in question also want to improve their own educational practices. In their view teachers, for example, should be better prepared to handle issues involved in the international classroom, and actually travel abroad to have a look for themselves. Institutions furthermore want to raise the overall standard of communication in English, from signposts to letters and brochures.

According to DNSA committee member Loek Zanders, the Dutch National Student Association is especially interested in the improvements in educational quality. ‘Internationalisation involves so much more than a classroom full of students with passports from different countries. We often act as if it’s easy to interact with people from different countries, but let’s be honest, we all have different customs. It’s just not as simple as it seems. This is why people benefit from taking part of their courses abroad.’

The DNSA does, however, find it remarkable that higher education institutions are advocating the introduction of scholarships for foreign students, while at the same time they seem to have no problem with the basic grant system for Dutch students being abolished.

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