BM71: Language Regulations Higher Education in Flanders
In today’s multicultural environment, the knowledge of different languages has become of paramount importance; granting access to new cultures, the ability to comprehend the latter better in many aspects, as well as strengthening the concerned students’ position both on the international as well as on the local professional market can only warrant for a larger extent of courses being taught in foreign languages. As such, and in the spirit of internationalisation at home, ESU supports VVS in its request to move towards an increase in the percentage of the courses that may be taught in a different language without being considered as a study programme that’s not taught in Dutch in Flanders. However, ESU understands VVS’s recognition of the need to safeguard Dutch as an academic language, and as such doesn’t propose to drop the quota completely, but instead scale it up from 18.33% to 33% for bachelor degrees via additional elective courses taught in a different language. That way, over two thirds of the curriculum will still be taught in Dutch, which still requires full academic proficiency in Dutch. Regarding the Master degrees, a quota of 50% is deemed acceptable, provided the Master Thesis is not included in the 50%, since a student should be allowed to choose the language for himself, considering some experts’ teachers are not fluent in Dutch and this could prove to be a hindrance. A student wishing to write it in Dutch should always have that option available to him as well. Internationally oriented study programmes, which fulfil the criteria to be deemed as such, should also have the possibility to be taught fully in a different language. This means that the teachers will naturally have to be proficient as well, in order to safeguard the quality of the Flemish education, and will in some cases require additional schooling, which is encouraged in any way.