Dutch cabinet wants compensation for foreign students

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Deputy Education Minister Halbe Zijlstra has threatened universities and colleges in the east of the country with closure if they continue to actively recruit students from just across the border.

Last week, the deputy minister drew up a profit-loss analysis of student exchange programmes between EU member states, as requested earlier by parliament.

His conclusion was that Dutch tax payers spend more than 90 million euros a year to educate a total of 34,000 foreign students - most of whom leave the Netherlands after completing their education – compared to just 19,000 Dutch students studying abroad.

Of these 34,000 foreign students, no less than 24,000 are Germans, and the cabinet wants the German government to start making a contribution to the cost of educating growing numbers 14 percent annual increase of German students. In a letter to parliament, Mr Zijlstra writes he fears ‘an unbridled increase” and “” for the quality of some educations.

He said some schools in the border region appear to recruit German students mainly because of a shortage of Dutch students. Some classes are taught exclusively in German and “”

Mr Zijlstra says he will take the issue of financial compensation up with the German government. “” Denmark and Sweden introduced such a cost-sharing system in 1996.

However, the deputy education minister also saw advantages to the exchange programmes. Foreign students are often highly motivated and have a positive effect on the results of their Dutch fellow students, provided they are in internationally mixed groups, not just among compatriots.

Foreign students often land ‘internationally oriented’ jobs upon their return to their country of origin, where they make use of their Dutch network which has a favourable effect on Dutch trade.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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