Antwerp universities seek funds to increase diversity

Summary

Antwerp’s higher education association is asking for more funding so it can attract more diverse students

“Budget should be doubled”

The Association University and Colleges Antwerp is asking the next government for more means to encourage specific target groups, such as youngsters with a foreign background, to take the step towards higher education.

In an election memorandum, the Antwerp higher education network points to the slow increase of the number of educated people in Flanders, demonstrated by a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Antwerp association feels this is the result of a lack of “democratisation” of higher education, which results, for example, in youngsters of foreign origin encountering more difficulties in going to college or university. The means to change the situation, said the network, are largely insufficient and unevenly distributed.

The association receives €6.7 million from the Flemish Encouragement Fund for the purpose of mainstreaming certain target groups. According to association chair Robert Voorhamme, this budget should be doubled and distributed according to the relevant characteristics of a student population. He said that this is necessary as the student population in Antwerp becomes more and more diverse. With the extra investment, the association wants to introduce extensive bridging programmes and broader support for students whose mother tongue is not Dutch.

Voorhamme believes Flanders will suffer serious consequences if teenagers from foreign backgrounds are unable to easily access higher education. “It will affect the creation of a knowledge economy, competitiveness and the financing of the social security system,” he said. 

University of Antwerp

The University of Antwerp is Flanders’ youngest university, but it has quickly made a name for itself in natural and biomedical science research. It is the region’s third-largest university.
Merger - The university was born from the merger of three institutions with roots dating back to 1852.
Ranking - The university placed 13th in the World University Ranking “Top 50 Universities Under 50 years”.
Epidemiology - It was the first university in Flanders to offer a Master’s degree in epidemiology.
2 003

university was founded

13

percentage of international students

9

campuses across the city