Policy summary: Language policy of Eindhoven University of Technology

Three documents:

  • Code of Conduct Language TU/e (2016), 1.5 pages, available in English and Dutch
  • Integral language policy at the TU/e (2017), 15 pages, available in English and Dutch
  • Q and A on language policy at TU/e (2018), just over 2 pages, available in English and Dutch

The Code of Conduct consists of 7 ‘paragraphs’. Paragraph 2 is the key one indicating that, in line with the law, the language of instruction of study programmes can be English. Art 7.2 WHW is not explicitly named, but elements of it (the exceptions to the rule that Dutch is the instruction language) are basically copied. English-language programmes are entirely in English, whereas Dutch-language programmes may have English-language materials or even courses (!). Paragraph 3 states that the Executive Board must approve the decision to teach a programme in English.

The document Integral language policy has the following sections:

  1. Background: This section indicates that the ‘integral language policy’ involves the following:
    1. the working language and the informal language in management, education and services; and
    2. the language skills of students, teachers, and support staff.
  2. State of play regarding integral language policy at the TU/e: The current official language of the TU/e is described as follows:
    1. The management and participatory bodies mainly use Dutch as the official language.
    2. In most study programs (BSc, MSc, PhD and PDEng) English is or soon will become the official language; in research the official language is English.
    3. In the service departments the working language often is Dutch, communication is bilingual.
  3. Agreements and policy concerning the working language. In particular, two pieces of legislation are singled out:
    1. 7.2 WHW, which, as we know, concerns the language of instruction
    2. 2.6 of the Algemene Wet Bestuursrecht (General Act for Administrative Law), which states that:
      1. Managerial bodies and persons working under their responsibility use Dutch, unless otherwise determined by legal requirement. [presumably this is why Dutch is currently used]
      2. By way of derogation from the first paragraph, another language may be used if its use is more efficient and the interests of third parties are not disproportionately affected. [presumably this is why they figure they can switch to English in bodies like the Executive Board and University Council]
    3. Agreements and policy concerning language proficiency. Here the policies on proficiency in English and Dutch are given, indicating the levels required and courses provided to help different target groups within the university community reach them.
    4. Language policy of other universities: brief info on the policies of several other Dutch universities.
    5. Integral language policy at the TU/e: The ‘target’ is as follows: ‘The TU/e shall move to English as the working language as of 1-1-2020 for management, education/research and services. With a development-oriented approach, the English language proficiency will be raised to the appropriate level. The TU/e will support anyone who wishes to learn Dutch or wishes to improve their language proficiency.’
    6. Implementation through projects: The projects through which they intend to bring the integral language policy are given as follows (and described briefly in Appendix 2 of the document):
      1. Project 1: English as a working language
      2. Project 2: Language proficiency (English/Dutch) for teachers
      3. Project 3. Language proficiency (English/Dutch) support staff and managerial bodies
      4. Project 4: Language proficiency (English/Dutch) students

The Q and A on language policy comprises a number of FAQs about the impending switch to English as a working language university wide as of 2020, such as:

  • What does this imply in real terms?
  • What does this mean for Dutch?
  • My English is not so good, so what will happen next?

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