All Nuffic Nesos (Netherlands Education Support Offices) are situated in locations that are of strategic importance to Dutch higher education. They also play a key role in attracting world-class talent for the Dutch knowledge economy. Nuffic Director-General Freddy Weima: “I accept that we are going through a period of austerity, but these cutbacks will have a detrimental effect on the infrastructure of the Dutch higher education sector, and thus on our knowledge economy”.
Nesos have proven their effectiveness
In 2001, Nuffic started establishing the Netherlands Education Support Offices (Nesos) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Dutch research universities and universities of applied sciences. Since 2008 Nesos have been active in a total of ten countries, which were carefully selected to reflect Dutch national interests. These countries are emerging economies that offer opportunities for Dutch higher education institutions. The Nuffic Nesos are located in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Taipei, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea. Nesos play an important role in the process of promoting Dutch higher education.
In 2012, a total of approximately 10,500 students from the various Neso countries were enrolled at a Dutch higher education institution. This represents an increase of almost 24% in comparison with 2007. The Nesos are also responsible for various specific tasks. One example is the prestigious Science without Borders programme stimulating Dutch-Brazilian cooperation in education. Dutch higher education institutions employ the Nesos’ services on a frequent basis. Freddy Weima: “We will do everything in our power to make sure our Neso activities remain as effective as possible despite the cutbacks. To this end, we will be entering into negotiations with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the research universities and universities of applied sciences”.
Recommendation from the Social and Economic Council
The decision to impose major cutbacks on the Nesos is at odds with the recent recommendation from the Dutch Social and Economic Council on binding international talent to the Netherlands. Weima: “The Cabinet members refer to a multi-year action plan derived from this recommendation. The Nesos are ideally positioned to help bind such talent to this country, for example through the extensive alumni networks that they maintain”.
In its letter to the Dutch Lower House on the cutbacks, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science suggests that it might be prudent to explore the potential for a merger between Nuffic and the European Platform and other suitable organisations. Nuffic would be more than willing to discuss this option in greater detail.
Nuffic (the Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education) operates on the nexus between internationalisation and higher education. It offers a broad range of services and products designed to help research universities, universities of applied sciences and students in the Netherlands and abroad achieve their international ambitions.