Higher education became English. Is this bad, asks columnist Vanessa Evers.
Higher education in the Netherlands became Anglican. I find myself not quite sure how to conjugate the verb “anglicize”: anglicized? English? This is because I can’t (know?) Dutch very well. Thank God that the editor-in-chief is reviewing this article again.
I learned Dutch grammar at a Catholic primary school and later at a comprehensive school, but I always had difficulty with the d’s and t’s. By the way: I can’t (can’t?) memorize tables by heart either. I spent part of my youth in Nigeria.
I later enjoyed the English I learned there at school in the Netherlands. As I recall, later computer science lectures at university were all in Dutch, perhaps with a few exceptions. However, the most up-to-date knowledge often comes from English books and most words in my field were English (database) or originated from English (modeling and simulation).
I never developed a real “feel” for d’s and t’s
She later worked in Australia, Great Britain and the United States, among other countries. Once I returned to the Netherlands, my comprehensive knowledge of the English language helped me publish scientific publications and accept research proposals. However, my emails kept being filled with incorrect d’s and t’s.
Later, when the children learned the language and schedules, I did my best to learn with them. The result was still bad. With d and t, things get better now thanks to the endless mixing of rules, but I never developed a real “feel” for it. In the case of “could” and “could,” it is precisely language that has become more tolerable. There was always some fiddling with the tables.
Although I’m still not sure about the correct spelling of the verbs, I’m not sure what I think (without the t!) about the call to make Dutch the standard language in higher education from now on. They want at least 60 percent of bachelor’s lectures to be delivered in Dutch (with a t!) and examined (d!).
Why does a university education always have to be so huge?
What makes discussion very difficult is the presence of large numbers of foreign students. If we abolish bachelor’s degrees taught entirely in English, we will no longer be able to attract foreign students, or at least if they do not speak Dutch.
The issue has become entangled with the university funding model. Since universities are funded based on student numbers, they need to maximize their expenses to cover their expenses. This means (means?) that attracting foreign students is important.
Maybe we should ask ourselves why college education always has to be so great. Why don’t we expand higher vocational education and reduce the academic framework? A different funding model would allow this, but the problem remains that the business community often prefers academic education to higher vocational education.
Proficiency in English is required to participate in science at a high level. But personally I would like to be able to understand Dutch better, because it’s still stupid to make grammatical mistakes as a professor.
If all bachelor’s studies were taught in Dutch, the number of foreign students would decrease significantly. However, I do not think that this will guarantee that scientifically trained people will have a better understanding of the Dutch language.
If the problem is that we do not know Dutch, then I am afraid that higher education in Dutch does not offer the solution.
Text: Vanessa Evers, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Twente
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