English’s increasing dominance in Higher Education raises questions – Challenges of Anglicization in the Netherlands and Finland

Is English in Higher Education becoming too commonplace?

English's increasing dominance in Higher Education raises questions Education Beyond Borders Podcast

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25-JUN-2023 | In a recent announcement, the Minister of Education in The Netherlands revealed that Bachelor’s programs will now require a minimum of two out of three modules to be taught in Dutch. This decision aims to address concerns about the increasing internationalization and Anglicization of higher education. The new policy is scheduled to take effect in the 2024-25 academic year. The decision comes amidst growing worries about the influx of international students in The Netherlands. The Minister of Education highlighted issues such as overcrowded lecture halls, limited accommodation, and excessive workloads on teachers.

This development reflects a broader trend in higher education, where the prevalence of English as the primary language of instruction has come under scrutiny. Finland, too, has witnessed similar debates. Just last week, Aalto University faced criticism for conducting only 5% of its Master’s programs in Finnish and Swedish. English has increasingly become the dominant language, even in undergraduate courses, raising concerns among students who feel that their educational experience is hindered by the language barrier, particularly in specialized fields such as Finance where Finnish or Swedish alternatives are not available.

At Verbalists Education, our language experts believe that the recent decision by the Dutch Minister of Education and the ongoing debates in Finland highlight the complex challenges faced in finding a balance between embracing internationalization and preserving local languages and education systems. As higher education evolves in our globalized world, there is an ongoing discussion about how to strike a harmonious balance between using English widely and maintaining linguistic diversity. It’s a topic that requires exploration and careful consideration.

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