Following a critical report by the Dutch Education Inspectorate, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences will no longer award Dutch diplomas at their Qatari campus.
Translation by Traci White
The Leeuwarder Courantreports that the inspectorate concluded that there was not a sufficient guarantee of the quality of degrees awarded at Stenden University Qatar. “There are doubts about quality assurance of the education offered in Qatar and the trustworthiness of academic performance”, the inspectorate wrote.
Back in February, NRC reported that the campus in Qatar was under investigation by the inspectorate due to a range of claims alleging misconduct on the campus, chief among them that students at the campus had received Dutch diplomas without actually meeting those standards.
At the time, the university of applied sciences initially downplayed the situation, saying that the story failed to accurately reflect actions the school had already taken to fix the identified issues and denying that any degrees had been wrongfully awarded to students who had not earned them.
In response to the publication of the report, chairperson of the NHL Stenden board Erica Schaper wrote that the university will now “take a new approach” in Qatar. “There can be no shadow of a doubt that the quality of education and final level of academic achievement are sub-par. This is a matter of grave concern.”
Current Dutch higher education law dictates that foreign students can achieve a Dutch diploma from a branch campus or affiliated faculty abroad if they spend at least 25 percent of their studies in the Netherlands. The Leeuwarder Courant writes that in light of the inspection, minister of education Ingrid van Engelshoven is now reportedly reconsidering that ruling, but will hold off on taking any definitive action until Stenden has had a chance to take internal action.
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