School sees no problem in 2000 foreign students: ‘A lot of demand’

You have a higher professional education where you train people for the hotel world, the tourism sector, games and the media. 2000 of your 7000 students come from abroad. Most lessons are in English. Then Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf will introduce a law to reduce the number of international students. Jan Willem Besselaar is director of the Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUAS): “The problems that the minister wants to solve do not apply to us. More so at universities.”

BUAS in Breda has many foreign students and believes that the minister pays too little attention to the differences between schools. “If the law is passed in its current form, it will be very difficult for us to start English-language courses.”

According to the minister, foreign students cause overcrowded lecture halls, too high a workload for teachers and a shortage of student rooms. He wants schools to be stricter when admitting students from abroad. This could reduce the number of English-taught courses.

That is a problem for a school like BUAS in Breda. Thirty percent of all students come from abroad. Most studies train students for jobs in international sectors. The school believes that the minister does not take this into account enough.

“The problems occur more at universities.”

In its current form, the law would mean that the school cannot start new English-language courses. “That would be a shame. But as I understand it, the current bill will not pass.”

The education council wants the minister to develop the plan better. The consequences must become clearer. The education council believes it is good that schools have more influence on the number of foreign students, but the minister should take more account of schools, such as BUAS, that train for ‘specialist’ jobs that are in high demand.

“We train students for thriving sectors.”

“You have to look at the needs of the labor market,” says BUAS director Besselaar. “We train our students for flourishing sectors.” Besselaar wants to teach international students more in the Dutch language and culture, as the minister requests. “We are now working on an education program for this.” He hopes that this will make students more likely to stay in the Netherlands after their studies.