The Netherlands Education Support Office (Neso) in Vietnam has been given a lifeline after initial plans to shut it down have now seemingly been altered.
NUFFIC announced on its website that as of 1 May the Neso in Vietnam will be operating from the Dutch consulate in Hoi Chi Minh City. A letter to this effect has been signed this week.
Faced with severe budget cuts NUFFIC said in January it will close three of its worldwide Neso’s which included Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan.
Furthermore, it intended to transform the Neso’s in South-Korea and Mexico from full-running offices to desks located in the same building as the respective Dutch embassies while the office in Indonesia were to serve a regional function in the whole of southeast Asia.
Now however it seems Neso-activities in Vietnam will also continue from within the Dutch consulate, albeit with reduced capabilities. In the future the desk will be manned by one part-time education promotion officer and a part- time student counselor. It will work closely with the regional office in Indonesia.
The minister of education, science and culture, Jet Bussemaker, announced in May last year that the Netherlands plans to reduce its current investment of 5,5 million euros in the Neso’s with 1,9 million euros. NUFFIC has been requested to submit a plan on how Neso’s activities can adjusted in line with the new budgetary constraints.
The Neso’s promote education by helping Dutch students who want to study abroad but, more importantly, assisting foreign students who plan on studying in the Netherlands.
In the 2012-2013 academic year there were 11 584 students from Neso- countries studying in the Netherlands - an increase of almost 46% compared to 2005-2006. Of all the Neso- countries, China had the highest number of students in the Netherlands (6 380) in 2012-2013 compared to Taiwan (281), Mexico (385) and Vietnam (389). At Wittenborg University, there have been a number of notable graduates from Vietnam during the past 10 years, and at present 3 Vietnamese students are studying in the Bachelor IBA programme.
Han Dommers, head of NUFFIC’s positioning department, said it was not an easy task having such a big part of their Neso-budget sliced. “However, the core function will be guaranteed: the promotion of Dutch higher education and retaining international talent for the Dutch labour market.”
When the Netherlands’ Central Planning Bureau (CPB) investigated the effect of internationalization on the Dutch economy, it estimated that if one in five international student continue working in the Netherlands after their study, it contributes about 740 million euros to the economy.
All the offices in the BRIC-countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are set to be retained. NUFFIC is also considering representation in South Africa and Turkey, though not immediately.
The new office in Vietnam will be located at the following address: Nuffic Neso Vietnam
Saigon Tower, Suite 901
29 Le Duane Boulevard, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press