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Basic Qualification in English Language Skills

University lecturers who are in the process of obtaining the Basic Teaching Qualification (BKO) and who teach programmes in English will also need the Basic Qualification in English Language Skills certificate, which guarantees a basic standard of English.

BKE test for Leiden University lecturers

In January 2008, Leiden University introduced a training programme leading to the Basic Teaching Qualification (Basis Kwalificatie Onderwijs,BKO). Depending on the date, extent and duration of their appointment, it is compulsory for lecturers and professors at Leiden University to hold a BKO certificate, or to obtain this certificate. Lecturers who teach in English also require a Basic Qualification in English Language Skills certificate (Basis Kwalificatie Engels, BKE) that confirms their capabilities in the English language.

The BKE test is conducted by the Academic Language Centre and comprises three parts:

  • A computerised test to assess listening, grammar and vocabulary skills.
  • An interview with a language adviser to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of your spoken language;
  • An interview to discuss the evaluation of your skills and, if appropriate, to advise on further improvement.

The interview consists of a couple of short tasks. In order to establish a complete profile of your oral proficiency, these tasks are devised to contain prepared and unprepared speech on both familiar and unfamiliar topics. They do not only aim to establish your spoken proficiency within the professional domain, but also the flexibility and improvisational skills you need when communicating with international students and colleagues.

The test lasts a total of one hour and 15 minutes. You will be asked to present a valid passport or ID card on the day of the test.

For more information about the BKE test or to make an appointment, please send an email to mail.academicenglish@hum.leidenuniv.nl. Further information about the BKO.

Support staff

The support and administrative staff of Leiden University are also increasingly having to use English in their daily work. As an example, visiting lecturers need to be informed about the opening hours of different buildings, and students have questions about their study programme, accommodation, etc.   

Over the past few years, the Academic Language Centre has developed custom-made intake tests and courses in English for such groups as study advisers, technical staff and library officers. For further information, please contact Philomena Dol.


The Academic Language Centre offers an extensive range of courses addressing diverse English language skills at different levels of competence. For staff of Leiden University, English courses are available that focus on improving a specific skill, such as academic writing, making presentations and pronunciation for public speakers.  

Complete range of English courses

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