NHL Stenden University investigated for fraud and corruption - TNE Qatar Campus
The Netherlands higher education inspectorate is investigating Stenden University of Applied Sciences for exam-fraud at its Qatar campus.
According to an article in the Dutch newspaper NRC, The university is accused of corrupt staff, missing administration and exam and assessment fraud.
All universities in the Netherlands have independent exam boards or examination commissions, whose task it is to guard the quality and integrity of examinations and degrees awarded at Dutch higher education institutions. Reports show that the exam commissions at Stenden University already informed its executive board as early as February 2017 that they had no faith in the organisation and quality and integrity of the education offered at the Qatar campus. The inspectorate is especially looking at how the Stenden board dealt with the information provided to them at that time (by the exam board).
According to the NRC article staff at the Stenden campus are alleged to have accepted significant bribes of cash and goods in return for ‘pass marks’.
It seems that in 2012, the Dutch inspectorate already concluded that Stenden’s off-shore campuses had serious quality issues. Stenden reportedly has ‘private’ campuses in South Africa, Qatar, Thailand and Bali. Only in 2018 the inspectorate have started their investigation.
Interestingly, Trans-National Education (TNE) for Dutch universities has only become possible since last year. How Stenden has operated under these circumstances is unclear - have all the 800 graduates spent 25% of their studies in the Netherlands (as was the law up to 2018)? Also, what guarantees are there in place that this alleged fraud and corruption has not been funded by public money? Many questions remain unanswered.
by James Wittenborg
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