Minister of Education, Jet Bussemaker has announced that she intends to put forward a proposal to legally protect the terms University and University of Applied Sciences. This as part of a continuing move to formalise Dutch higher education, in such a way that its international reputation is maintained and enhanced.
Actually, the Minister is starting with the protection of the Dutch terms Universiteit and Hogeschool. The Netherlands has a Germanic, binary system of higher education, similar to that of Germany, Austria and Switzerland and a Universiteit is a Research University that offers degrees up to PhD level and a Hogeschool is internationally known as a University of Applied Sciences, and offers degrees up to Master level, with an applied science approach.
The change in the law will mean that only Dutch, or internationally (government) accredited institutes will be able to use the term University or University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.
For international students this will not make much of a difference, as already only institutions that are nationally appointed and accredited by the government are allowed to recruit students from abroad, covered by the Code of Conduct for International Students in the Netherlands, to which Wittenborg is a signatory.
According to the University's management, Wittenborg sees the Minister's move as a positive one and hopes it will lead to less confusion in the local (Dutch) education market. Recently, for instance, there have been ventures in the local region of Apeldoorn and Zutphen by the so-called "Business Universiteit" - an unaccredited entity that caused much publicity in the local press - in the future, this will not be possible. According to an article in the Dutch national newspaper the Volkskrant, other institutes such as the un-accredited Dutch University College will have to drop the use of "University". The "Cruyff University", - the accredited sports programme of the famous Dutch footballer, Johan Cruyff, will have to adopt the official name of University of Applied Sciences - although this should also be seen as a positive distinction from the 'Research Universities"!
Wittenborg is a University of Applied Sciences, offering accredited higher education, however through its campus agreement with the UK University of Brighton Wittenborg also offers various Master of Science and a Bachelor of Arts programme in International Hospitality management. The University of Brighton offers both Applied Science and Research programes. Wittenborg also has agreements with some research Universities, such as Wageningen University, that enable s its staff to co-promote some internal PhD programmes.
According to Wittenborg's Chairman, Peter Birdsall, "Wittenborg see the discussion as simple - a University is a University, either research or applied sciences, and as a University of Applied Sciences Wittenborg is proud to say that it educates people to improve their own personal lives in employment, either providing them with a starting block from which to launch their professional careers or in providing them with a boost to improve their current position."
by the Wittenborg News Team
Sources: de Volkskrant, Ministry of Education (OC&W), NRTO