Platform puts language studies back on the map

Establishment National Platform for Languages

The number of students choosing a language education is steadily declining within The Netherlands. To emphasize the importance of language programs, the 'National Platform for the Languages' will be established as of April 1. This platform will be lobbying for multilingualism and will provide information about studies of the Arts throughout The Netherlands.

Original text: Julia Mars
Translation: Marissa Aarts

The platform is the result of a cooperation between seven academic institutions, including Radboud University (RU). Its aim is to argue for the importance of studies of the Arts at ministries, government institutions and businesses. 'With this platform, we aim to create attention for the fact that studies of the Arts are important and individual programs', says Prof. Dr. Margot van Mulken, dean of the Faculty of Arts. 'It will not only have an ambassador's function, but also that of an information platform. The platform will be lobbying at the ministry and the educational institutions for multilingualism, and will additionally provide information on languages and studies of the Arts for those interested.' The platform will intensify cooperation between educational institutions, for example with regard to the transition from hbo (universities of applied sciences) or secondary schools to university. 'Right now, there is no insight into the language capacities of hbo or secondary school students. hampers their transition to university or other education', mentions Van Mulken. Through better cooperation between the different educational institutions, they can better adapt themselves to the needs and learning progress of students.

Another goal of the platform is to stimulate innovation. An example of this is a closer cooperation between universities, so that students can attend courses at different universities. 'Due to the fact that Arts programs tend to be small, it is sometimes impossible to have an expert on every subject available', adds Van Mulken. 'That is why it should become easier for a student of French at the RU to follow a course at the University of Leiden, if there is an expert on the domain of literature during the French Revolution present.'