'Don't underestimate the costs of introducing English’

The University Council issued a positive recommendation yesterday regarding the introduction of English as the working language at TU/e. The council did, however, warn that the costs involved should not be underestimated and that the high quality of Dutch language use should be maintained. Council members also recommended retaining the option for the final thesis produced by Bachelor's and Master's students to be written in Dutch. TU/e is keen to introduce the new language policy in 2020.

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The University Council issued a positive recommendation yesterday regarding the introduction of English as the working language at TU/e. This is because, their statement said, ‘the new working language improves the accessibility of the institution and benefits the quality of the education delivered’. The University Council members have no concerns about the training budgets for courses, they let it be known in a joint statement. “The budgets are sufficient. Our concern relates to the high work pressure felt by employees, which will hamper their efforts to make time available for language refresher courses. Measures will be needed to create this time and the costs of that should not be underestimated.”

The council members proposed that the English and Dutch language courses be made available to both internationals and Dutch nationals. They also advocate permitting students of the Bachelor's and Master's programs to submit their final thesis written in Dutch. Their argument is that where a student has completed an internship at a Dutch company it would be only natural to write the thesis in Dutch.

Decision on the principle

The Executive Board is making no firm commitments. Board member Jo van Ham did say, however, "that the financial consequences would be borne. This is a decision on the principle. How we will fund this and that will be addressed in the implementation plan.” And he implementation plan, he promised, will be submitted to the University Council at the appropriate time. Proposals for safeguarding the quality of the Dutch language will also be included in the plan, says the Executive Board. 

That the initiative to introduce English as the working language has not been taken to recruit more international students and thus acquire additional funding was a point to which President of the Executive Board Jan Mengelers gave added emphasis yesterday. The foremost reasons are, say the Executive Board, keeping in step with the international labor market, keeping in step with the Brainport community, inclusivity, and the fact that almost all programs at TU/e are now delivered in English. 

The University Council doubts whether it will be possible to have introduced English as the working language by the start of 2020, but believes this is a ‘a good ambition’. The council members also requested that the internationalization among associations be encouraged but not imposed. “The council proposes that those associations that recognize the need for inclusivity in their own association and wish to safeguard it make this transition themselves. We encourage the university to monitor this process and support it where necessary.” Van Ham let it be known that "while we advise a gradual path in this matter, we can appeal to the associations to embrace inclusivity.”

Turn to the article we posted last week on the Cursor site about the introduction of English as the working language.

 

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