English in councils in 2015

The RUG Language and Culture Policy calls for communication in all governance bodies, including faculty councils, to be in English starting in the 2015/2016 academic year.

‘In management and administration, Dutch is the primary language at RUG in accordance with Dutch society in general, while English is the secondary language’, the summary reads. ‘Yet, given the dual plus policy, the university should also communicate in English in all governance bodies at central and faculty level to ensure transparency and equal access for all staff and students from academic year 2015/2016 onwards.’

The dual plus policy is a ‘compulsory approach’ to English and a ‘voluntary yet stimulating’ approach for Dutch and other languages. That goes for staff as well as students.

Higher standards

Faculties are expected to use part of their budget assigned for training and development to pay for bringing their own staff up to the recommended language levels. Each faculty is tasked with submitting their own budget for that purpose – if they are approved, the Board will pay for half of the expenses.

Dutch courses for international students are being expanded: students will be able to take the subsidised classes throughout their academic programme rather than only during their first year.

However, the policy also calls for all students to have English reading skills at a C1 – effective operational efficiency – level in order to be able to read English-written academic articles. ‘To enter the Master Phase, students must have a minimum of a CEFR [Common European Framework of Reference] C1 level in the language their Master programme is taught through’, according to the summary. The RUG currently offers 107 English-taught masters programmes and 21 bachelors.


Another recommendation is a workshop based on the Intercultural Effectiveness Training – IET – during the introductory week for bachelor and master students.

The Board of Directors has made a budget of 4.5 million euros available for implementation and evaluation of the policy over the next three years. The summary recommends fully implementing the language policy in administration and management before the academic year 2016/2017. The policy should be in full effect by 2018, and by 2020, ‘all barriers in language and culture need to be removed.’