At the beginning of June, ACA’s Dutch member organisation – the Nuffic (the Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education) – announced that it will be forced to close down part of its world-known Neso offices (Netherlands Education Support Offices) in the near future. The measure will become “inevitable”, as a result of a 30% government-imposed cut into the budget for Neso activities. ACA shares Nuffic’s disappointment with the Dutch government’s plans, which however still need parliamentary approval.
It remains to be announced which of the ten offices will be closed down, but it is nevertheless very clear that the Nuffic remains committed to its overseas activities. Along these lines, Nuffic’s Director-General, Freddy Weima, recently declared “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”, showing that the organisation is by no means ready to give up.
Starting from 2001, the Nuffic Nesos have been established in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Dutch higher education institutions, in locations of strategic importance for the Dutch higher education system. Since 2008, Nesos have been active in a total of ten countries, all of them emerging economies that were deemed to offer good opportunities for Dutch research universities and the universities of applied sciences. The Nuffic Nesos are currently located in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Taipei, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea. These offices play a key role in promotion and information provision, but also fulfil other specific tasks (e.g. involvement in Brazil’s prestigious “Science without borders” initiative). In 2012, about 10 500 students from the various Neso countries were enrolled at Dutch higher education institutions, an increase of almost 24% compared to 2007.