Internationalization of education

General summary

In 2010 the TU Delft decided to let all master programmes switch to English spoken/written master programmes. Teachers who needed to teach in English could do (and still can do) a proficiency test at ITAV. When a teacher don’t pass the test at the right level (C1/C2) the teacher is stimulated to follow a course. In the past years internationalization of some bachelor programmes is discussed. AE and AES are fully English for a while now, but CS, EE and AM have also plans to switch to English. In the academic year 2014-2015 the Student Council had sent the Board a letter with their advise to first test all teachers in English proficiency before deciding to switch a new bachelor programme to English. Since then the TU has a specific focus on the English proficiency of teachers. Also, this is a topic which causes a lot of discussion everywhere in the Netherlands.


In 2010 all master programmes switched to English. In academic year 2014-2015 ORAS has sent out a survey about the English proficiency of teachers. A lot of students complained about lectures of bad quality because of a lack of English proficiency of the teacher. That was the reason why the SC had sent their letter to the Board demanding a test for every teacher before a programme decided to switch. After that, the Board gave the SC the opportunity to speak with the program directors of different studies. The meeting resulted in a proposal to focus on English proficiency in the R&O-cycle (the annualy evaluation of teachers).

Current situation

At the moment (July 2017) two bachelor programmes are given fully in English: Aerospace Engineering and Applied Earth Sciences. The plans for other programmes to switch to English are:

  • Computer Sciences: in academic year 2017-2018 fully in English
  • Electrical Engineering: academic year 2017-2018 is the switch-year, in 2018-2019 fully English
  • Nanobiology: fully English

We discussed this topic in a meeting with the Executive Board in June 2017. The board told us the university is working on a new policy where the plan is to have all teachers tested in early 2018. We also discussed the guideline which the master programmes and bachelor programmes should need when we’re talking about the English proficiency-level (C1/C2). In the fall of 2017 this will be further discussed.

Ideal situation

Our opinion about internationalization of programmes isn’t complete yet. On the one hand we think internationalization is good for the education at the TU Delft but we also are afraid that internationalization can lead to losing the Dutch/Delft student culture, which also is something we value a lot.

What we do know is that we don’t want internationalization if it causes a programme to decrease in quality. It means the English proficiency of teachers should be good. In the ideal situation every teacher passes the test at the right level but the most important: every teacher can teach understandable. Also there should be a culture at the TU Delft where teachers and students are actively working on their own English proficiency.

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