[lg policy] Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is a bilingual university

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Thu Apr 5 10:41:29 EDT 2018

 Bilingual policy

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is a bilingual university, which uses
both Dutch and English. This policy was introduced in 2015 and now needs an
What does the current bilingual policy look like?


   Command of English and Dutch related to job level
   EUR encourages all Dutch speaking staff to be able to speak and write
   English at a satisfactory level, according to its importance for their job.
   English speaking staff are expected to have a satisfactory command of Dutch
   if this is required in their job. With respect to English speaking staff
   working in an English speaking environment, EUR wants to enable them to
   master the basic principles of the Dutch language. The starting point here
   is that it is important to be able to communicate and also feel at home in
   Dutch speaking environments.

   - Extra attention for support staff
   Academics are accustomed to using English, but this is not (yet) the
   case for support staff. Extra support is therefore provided for this group,
   with language tests and additional language training, if necessary, to
   raise the level (of English and Dutch) to fulfil the requirements for their
   position. The goal is for all support staff to achieve that level by the
   end of 2018! Wherever this is desirable for their work, EUR will give staff
   members the opportunity to improve their language skills.

   - Language matrix
   The desired language level for each member of staff is based on a
   combination of job, work level and ‘Dutchness’ or ‘Englishness’ of the
   working environment (what are the language requirements of the working
   environment?) and is determined using the following language matrix. The
   English language environment is determined by:
      - The percentage of non-Dutch speaking students
      - The percentage of non-Dutch speaking colleagues
      - The percentage of non-Dutch contacts
      - The main language used to communicate in the department or faculty

   - Language & Training Centre
   On the website of the Language & Training Centre
   <https://www.eur.nl/en/education/language-training-centre>, you can find
   out what CEFR matrix
   means. It also provides information about support for staff, for example
   when the next Language Assessment
   is taking place or when the next Dutch course
   <https://www.eur.nl/en/education/language-training-centre/courses/dutch> is
   being organised.

[image: Taalmatrix - Tweetaligheidsbeleid EUR - Engelse taal]
How does bilingualism work in practice?

Bilingualism might seem simple, but it can generate questions in concrete
situations. For example, what do you do if, as the only non-Dutch speaker,
you are required to discuss an ICT problem with 30 delegates from other
universities? Or you’ve delivered an extensive report to the Executive
Board on the climate in the buildings and the University Council wants to
receive an English version of that report too?

Agreements have been reached on how to behave in such situations:

   1. Everyone is expected to understand written and spoken text in
   English/Dutch. People speak the language that is preferred, but we use
   English or Dutch if this is specifically required in your job.
   2. In meetings where one or more non-Dutch speaker is present, the
   language used is English, unless those present have sufficient passive
   knowledge of Dutch. In principle, everyone must be able to follow the
   meeting. The chair determines the language(s) in which the minutes are
   written, taking into account (possible) further distribution of the report.
   3. Everyone working at EUR (staff as well as external parties e.g. the
   caterers) are expected to have a command of English which corresponds to
   the guidelines in the language matrices (see illustration).
   4. Non-Dutch speakers who are employed for longer than 1 year are given
   support in learning Dutch (at basic level). Unless command of Dutch is a
   specific requirement in their job, they are expected to fulfil the
   guidelines in the language matrix within 2 years.
   5. Non-Dutch speakers who expect to stay in the Netherlands for longer
   than four years are provided support in learning Dutch up to level B1.
   6. If there is a language requirement, the language level on entering
   employment is determined (through certificates or tests) and the education
   need identified. Staff must have a command of English corresponding to the
   level required by their job within 2 years (see language matrix).
   7. Language is a permanent point of attention in the R&O.
   8. Organisation units must budget for the costs of language education
   and this is the responsibility for the management.
   9. Periodically* it is determined what other documents/information:
   a. Must be available in both Dutch and English
   b. Which documents must be available in English with a Dutch summary and
   vice versa
   10. Regulations are always provided in Dutch and English**. In this
   case, the documents in Dutch prevail over those in English. This must also
   be mentioned in the English version.
   11. A statement of objection or appeal must be submitted in Dutch and
   English. The decision relating to the objection/appeal is given in Dutch,
   perhaps with a summary in English. Here too, the Dutch versions will
   12. Hearings of the Advisory Committee on Administrative Appeals (ACB)
   and the Examination Appeal Board (CBE) are in principle held in Dutch***,
   unless the president decides otherwise. An interpreter will assist
   non-Dutch speaking staff/students.

*Once every three years.
**With the exception of teaching and exam regulations, the language of
which depends on the language used within the programme.
***Language of communication of any follow-up process at the Appeals
Tribunal for Higher Education (CBHO) or Court is only Dutch.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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