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Twente opts for English as official language

As of January 1, 2020 University of Twente has become the first university in The Netherlands to make English its official working language.

UT has made English its official working language. Photo: University of Twente

"We invest in programs that specifically prepare students for an international career"

Following the initial decision made by the executive board back in 2015, UT revised the policy to originally make the change in 2018, which then became effective in 2019 as a year of transition.

“We aim to increase our intake of new international students, particularly in the graduate phase”

Outlined in its language policy, UT states that “the choice of English language is not a goal on its own, but a means for the university to realise its ambition: excellence and cooperation in an international environment”.

While speaking in Dutch is still allowed in informal settings, all employees and students are to now speak in English while on campus and during lectures with all official documents and promotional material to also be in English.

An exception has been made for those courses such as Technical Medicine and Applied Physics that are Dutch-taught  and are to be continued to be taught in “the language of instruction… based on the organisation’s official language”.

The making of English as the official language comes as part of UT’s Vision2020 with a key part of its strategy being to “educate students to become ‘global citizens’ and offer them an international learning environment”.

“We invest in programs that specifically prepare students for an international career, providing opportunities to gain international experience within each educational programs and research project,” the university said.

The strategy further states that UT “aim[s] to increase [its] intake of new international students, particularly in the graduate phase”.

The decision has not gone without criticism however, with an organisation for the improvement of Dutch education, Beter Onderwijs Nederland taking UT to court in 2018 on the basis that the teaching of higher education and research in English broke the laws.

The court later rejected the claim and UT won their case against BON.

The university has further said that any employee that may have difficulty with the change of language will be provided with support and training.

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