State Secretary Zijlstra intends to take a critical look at studies given in English.
Zijlstra announced this news last week at a meeting of the Lower House. He wants NVAO, the institute that assesses educational programmes, to inquire why certain programmes are in English and whether that it is preferable.
Political parties CDA and PVV have objected to the increasing use of English in higher education and are unhappy with the teaching staff's lack of fluency in that language.
Zijlstra can understand the parties' objections: "A lecturer should be have a decent grounding in English if he is to teach in English. We haven't reached the right standards yet, but we are working on it."
Zijlstra has also requested the NVAO to ask, during its inspections, why the courses are taught in English. "We need a 'sanity check' – pardon my English." Dutch law states that, in principle, higher education in the Netherlands should be given in Dutch, unless there is a good reason to use another language.
The Dutch Language Union's Interparliamentary Commission (IPC) is holding a public inquiry into Dutch and English as languages of instruction in Dutch and Flemish higher education in The Hague on 11 June. VB