Dutch court nixes lawsuit over English on campus

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A Dutch court Friday slapped down a lawsuit by the country's largest teachers' association against two universities which had been accused of favouring English in their teaching instead of Dutch.

BON, which stands for "Better Education Netherlands" in Dutch, last month said it was suing the eastern Twente University and southern University of Maastricht for "Anglicisation" of certain courses.

The two universities offer two master's degree courses in psychology exclusively in English.

The teachers' association said the move "led to the impoverishment of the teaching quality and a dangerous abandonment in the learning of the Dutch language."

The body also claimed "Dutch students have fewer opportunities and choices because of English and the influx of foreign students," the Central Dutch district court said in a statement.

However, judges ruled Friday the two universities may continue presenting the psychology courses in English.

"The judge finds that the universities provided sufficient explanation for why the courses are exclusively presented in English," the court said.

"The universities find they can provide the course in English given the international character of the field of psychology and it will not influence the quality of education."

BON, on the other hand "did not adequately show" how the two universities were violating Dutch law, the judge said.

Although under Dutch law all courses must be taught in Dutch, it does provide exemptions if the subject is directly related to a different language such as English, for instance, for international business management.

Friday's ruling comes amid growing concern in the Netherlands over the increased popularity of English as a medium of instruction at Dutch universities.

BON said many young expatriates who graduate from Dutch universities are often tempted to remain in the country which has a flourishing economy and pleasant living environment, thus taking jobs from local graduates.

© 2018 AFP

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