NESO’s - Netherlands Education Support Offices to Close

Study in Holland | Study in the NetherlandsNuffic’s Study in Holland campaign face with Dutch government cuts

Faced with severe budget cuts, NUFFIC has announced it will shut down three of its worldwide Neso’s (Netherlands Education Support Office’s) while two others will be reduced to desks located in Dutch embassies. Neso’s are an essential part of NUFFIC’s Study In Holland campaign.

The three Neso’s to be closed are in Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan (Tapei). However, 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 Neso’s in South-Korea and Mexico will be transformed from offices to desks located in the same building as the respective Dutch embassies while the office in Indonesia are to serve a regional function in southeast-Asia.

The minister of education, science and culture, Jet Bussemaker, announced in May last year 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 new changes are expected to kick in as of 1 January 2015 when the Neso-budget will be slashed by about a third, though some changes will already be implemented later this year, according to a statement by NUFFIC.

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.

According to NUFFIC closing the Neso’s in Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan will save 910,000 euros per year, while slimming down the Mexico and South Koreas will save a further 580,000 per year. Reducing the number of Neso-directors, cutting supporting staff and material as well as general efficiency measures will assist in reaching the new budgetary targets.

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).

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.

Neso’s were instigated by NUFFIC in the early 2000’s  and although Indonesia had already had the Netherlands Education Centre (NEC) for a number of years, the first ‘NESO’ (Beijing) was officially opened in partnership with the Chinese government agency CSCSE in June 2001, followed in that same year by an office in Taiwan.

The last two Neso’s to be opened was in 2009 in Russia and Thailand. A second office in India was also opened in Chennai that year.

IELTS was first introduced and monitored by Neso Beijing and is now the standard for students from all around the world, wishing to study in Holland. In early 2010 the Neso Beijing was forced to close due to rumored changes in their relationship with CSCSE, but have since found a new partner and were able to re-open their offices on the 15th October 2010, in the affluent area of Xidan. During its closure in 2010, the Beijing Neso Certificate was transformed into the NUFFIC certificate and now issued directly from the Hague (Netherlands), so would no longer be directly affected by NUFFIC funding cuts and closures.

WUP 24/1/2014

by Anesca Smith

©Wittenborg University Press