Affordable costs, wide availability of English-language courses and world-renowned universities – The Netherlands ambassador to Nigeria Robert Petri touted all these at a recent education fair to attract young Nigerians to consider Dutch institutions for their higher education.
Speaking to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during the Second Edition of ‘Study in Holland Education Fair’ in Lagos, Petri called upon Nigerians to take up the chance to study abroad.
According to Unesco data, most Nigerian students appear to prefer the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Ghana for tertiary studies, with these three countries making up nearly half of the total Nigerian student population abroad.
“We really want young Nigerians to know that there are currently huge opportunities for them to come and study in the Netherlands at affordable costs,” Petri said.
“We really want young Nigerians to have international orientation during and after their studies in different Dutch internationally-recognised universities and colleges.”
The Netherlands is experiencing a boom in international student enrollment, thanks to inexpensive living costs and a high quality of life.
Some 122,000 international students from 162 countries are now enrolled in Dutch universities – 10,000 more than last year – and one in three Master’s students at universities in Delft, Wageningen, Eindhoven and Enschede come from abroad, according to data collected by Nuffic, the Netherlands organization for international cooperation in higher education.
But not everyone is pleased with this huge inflow of students from abroad.
Dutch student union LSVb has criticised the rising intake of international students into the Netherlands this year, calling it a “worrying” trend.
This upward trend has adverse impacts on the country and its citizens, the union said earlier this month, such as the large number of programs offered exclusively in the English language.
Three out of four master’s programs and one out of five bachelor’s programs at its research universities are now English-only. Currently, 80,000 Dutch students and 40,000 international students are enrolled in such programs.
These are the same programs that the union describes as having “deteriorating quality” and where “Dutch students suddenly have to compete with international students for a place at the program”.
“Universities do everything they can to attract as many international students as possible, but do not take the consequences into account. We call on the universities to take a step back and reflect on their strategy.”