Friday 10 July 2020

Nuffic faces squeeze, foreign student offices to be shut down


Nuffic, the government organisation set up to promote the internationalisation of the education system, is being forced to close its offices abroad and says this will lead to fewer talented foreign students coming to the Netherlands.

The government announced earlier this month that it was reorganising the way Nuffic functions by cutting its budget and closing the 10 education support offices, located in countries as diverse as China, Russia, India and Turkey.

The offices help foreign students and Dutch students abroad, run alumni networks and have an important role in recognising foreign qualifications. ‘This is a real shame because these have been the advance guard of the Dutch educational system for years,’ spokeswoman Anne Lutgerink told Trouw on Tuesday.

Subsidies for other Nuffic activities, particularly those involving primary and secondary education as well as secondary vocational education, are also under discussion. The education ministry plans to decide at a later date whether and how part or all of these activities are to be continued or maintained.

‘Taken together, these developments will severely affect the activities through which we support education institutions in developing as well as strengthening high-quality internationalisation efforts, from primary and secondary education to vocational and higher education,’ Nuffic said in a statement.

The 10 countries where the support offices are located sent nearly 14,000 students to Dutch colleges and universities in the last academic year, Trouw said. The Netherlands is particularly popular with Indian and Chinese students.

Nevertheless, the cuts fit in with ongoing discussion about the rise in foreign student numbers in the Netherlands, Trouw said. They now account for over 11% of the total student body.

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