There is a growing awareness of the systemic inequalities in society and education. As of yet, internationalisation is not inclusive either, given that not all students and pupils have equal opportunities to go abroad. This is caused by, for example, their sociocultural or ethnic background, and the educational level of their parents.

Such unequal opportunities can have an impact on the subsequent careers of pupils and students. The inherent risk is that internationalisation thereby exacerbates social inequality.

Our ambition

Our ambition is to contribute to equal opportunities, social cohesion and understanding among cultures. We want to ensure that all pupils and students are able to develop international competencies, regardless of their cultural or migration background, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, occupational impairment or residency status.

We consider it to be a responsibility of ourselves and education institutions to offer  pupils and students various types of internationalisation. This will allow everyone to profit from the opportunities that internationalisation has to offer, including those who do not have the chance to go abroad.

In addition, we are working on making internationalisation more inclusive. This means we are working towards a situation where all pupils and students are able to develop to their full potential, while at the same time, differences are appreciated.

Diversity and inclusion in internationalisation activities

In our work at Nuffic, we pay attention to diversity and inclusion. For example, we develop aids for teachers so they can make discrimination and diversity a topic for discussion in class. We are also attempting to make our Erasmus+ programmeOrange Knowledge Programme and WilWeg more inclusive and diverse.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Erasmus+ has determined that inclusion is among its priorities. The Erasmus+ website features a number of examples of projects aimed at promoting inclusion.

In addition, we are providing international experiences that do not require pupils and students to travel, allowing them to develop international competencies. Take, for example, the collaboration with foreign schools via the eTwinning online community.

Diversity and inclusion at Nuffic

Nuffic is a signatory of the Diversity Charter. This connects us to a European network of charters in 24 countries, all focusing on promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Every year, we set goals aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion within our own organisation. This should help create an organisational culture in which all employees feel acknowledged and at home. In turn, this should contribute to a more inclusive labour market.

However, we do realise that we still have a lot of work ahead of us. We are in the process of learning how we can best address ensuring more diversity and inclusion in our organisation and in our work. If you have any questions or comments about this, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch with Suzan Kommers by writing to skommers@nuffic.nl.

What is happening in education?

Together with schools and institutions, we are helping all pupils and students in gaining international experience in a manner suited to them. We are aware that inclusive internationalisation is only possible if education in the Netherlands becomes more inclusive.

Below, we have gathered a number of examples of diversity and inclusion initiatives in education.

Higher education

  • The National Action Plan for Diversity and Inclusion describes the ambitions and actions intended to create an inclusive, diverse and safe learning and working environment in academic education and research. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science wishes to expand this to higher professional education (HBO) and vocational education and training (MBO) institutions.
  • The Dutch National Union of Students (LSVb: Landelijke Studentenvakbond) has adopted its own Visie diversiteit en inclusie (Vision on diversity and inclusion - PDF in Dutch, 285 kB). In this vision document, the union discusses why it finds diversity and inclusion in higher education to be important, in which direction education should be moving, and what they expect from universities in this regard.
  • Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is focusing on internationalising the curriculum of 8 of its degree programmes with its WERKplaats Internationalisering initiative. The ways this is being done includes exchange programmes for students and training programmes for lecturers. The main focus is attracting a diverse student population.
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is working on an inclusive curriculum. Lecturers are receiving training in how to appeal to students from various backgrounds. The EUR is asking students to contribute to this initiative.
  • Utrecht University (UU) has a programme focusing on students with a refugee background who currently do not have access to education or work for all sorts of reasons. UU also has a special programme for equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is part of the Aurora network, an international network in which universities can learn from one another's lessons and successes related to diversity and inclusion.

If you are aware of other interesting initiatives concerning diversity and inclusion in relation to internationalisation in higher education, please contact Suzan Kommers by writing to skommers@nuffic.nl.

Vocational education and training (VET)

  • The Dutch national project ECBO/CINOP aims to encourage greater attention to diversity in VET institutions. The project is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Netherlands Association of VET College (MBO Raad), and two regional training centres, ROC Zadkine and ROC Friese Poort.
  • Within the Unesco school network, schools are working together on topics such as peace and human rights, sustainable development, intercultural learning and global citizenship. Also issues regarding diversity and inclusion are addressed here. The network is open to schools in primary and secondary education and in VET.

If you are aware of other interesting initiatives concerning diversity and inclusion in relation to internationalisation in VET institutions, please contact Suzan Kommers by writing to skommers@nuffic.nl.

Primary and secondary education

  • The Global Citizen Network is a network organised by Nuffic and consists of 75 schools in secondary education which are working together to promote global citizenship. The network has adopted an inclusive approach and would like all pupils to have the chance to develop global citizenship competencies.
  • Within the Unesco school network, schools are working together on topics such as peace and human rights, sustainable development, intercultural learning and global citizenship. Also issues regarding diversity and inclusion are addressed here. The network is open to schools in primary and secondary education and in VET.
  • The aim of the Taalvriendelijke School (Language-friendly school) initiative is to ensure that no child is ever punished for speaking their mother tongue at school. They have created a road map of their fundamental ideas (PDF, 185 kB). Every school is welcome to participate in this initiative.
  • On our page on cultural diversity and global citizenship (in Dutch), you can read more on how the presence of children with an international background in the classroom can create opportunities to bring up global citizenship in class.

If you are aware of other interesting initiatives concerning diversity and inclusion in relation to internationalisation in primary and secondary education, please contact Suzan Kommers by writing to skommers@nuffic.nl.

Take action yourself

Be inspired! We have gathered tips and lesson material for you.

Tips and inspiration

Lesson materials

  • Stories that move is an online toolkit that teachers can use to discuss various types of discrimination and racism in class. The toolkit was created by the Anne Frank Foundation and is available in multiple languages. This means that you can easily turn it into an international project as a teacher. eTwinning can help you in this regard.
  • Have a look at 3 ideas for lessons, worked out in detail, on the topics of diversity, sustainability and children's rights in Nuffic Academy's e-learning module on Global Citizenship. The lesson ideas have been categorised for all levels of primary schools.
  • Boekwijzer features an extensive list of books which can help you to provide pupils with a nuanced view of society.

Read and learn more

  • Listen to our podcast with Ilias El Hadioui, in which he discusses the increasing diversity in schools and the consequences this has for future education.
  • Have a look at Wit Huiswerk (White homework), a ‘resource for white people who want to take a closer look at their struggle against racism’.
  • Read the interview with Gamze Kareloglu (in Dutch), a Legal Professions student and board member of the youth organisation for professional education, Jongeren Organisatie Beroepsonderwijs (JOB). She describes her vision on education, being socially engaged and equal opportunities for all students.
  • Read the book Jam Cultures by Jitske Kramer to discover a practical method of dealing with differences, disagreements and conflicts.

This page is part of a series on the effects of internationalisation. Also see our page on sustainable mobility.