The NRC newspaper reported on Wednesday that NHL Stenden’s branch in Qatar is under investigation by the Dutch Education Inspectorate following misconduct claims.
Translation by Traci White
The NRC article reports that the campus in Doha, which is the largest of NHL Stenden’s four international branch facilities, has a long list of potential issues which occurred between 2011 and 2017. Foreign students were reportedly awarded Dutch diplomas despite failing to meet language requirements and using forged signatures.
Grades were allegedly falsified, exam questions were supposedly leaked to students beforehand and instructors may have accepted bribes for preferential treatment. The Dutch Education Inspectorate is currently conducting an investigation into admissions and exams practices the Qatar branch, which should be completed at some point this spring.
NHL Stenden exam committees carried out their own investigation into the issues in Qatar in 2017 and advised the board to stop recruiting students to the campus and to stop awarding Dutch diplomas in Qatar. The board says that they hired an external agency to assess the situation at the branch, but the agency reportedly found no evidence of wrongdoing.
The NRC reporting says that the board of directors of NHL Stenden did not take the alleged issues seriously. In a statement on the university of applied sciences’ website, the NHL Stenden board described the contents of the article as “suggestive” and said that the story did not accurately reflect actions the university has taken to address concerns about the Doha facilities. “No diplomas were wrongly awarded to foreign students”, the board writes.
The Qatar branch has 280 students and is a partnership with Al Rayyan International Education, and NHL Stenden has 24,000 students in total at all of its domestic campuses in Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe and its other branch facilities in South Africa, Thailand and Bali. NHL and Stenden officially merged into a single HBO academic institution this past autumn.
Photo source: StellarD – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikipedia