Private universities of applied science, like Wittenborg, received praise for the quality of its education and its professionalism from the Dutch inspectorate of education in its 2013-2014 report on the state of education in the Netherlands.
The report was presented at a congres by the new inspector-general of education, Monique Vogelzang.
Its positive tone about privately funded HBO’s echoes a visit by representatives of the inspectorate to Wittenborg last month in a friendly exchange of information with the management of the university.
The report’s favorable view on private HBO’s stands in sharp contrast to concerns about especially private vocational institutes (MBO’s) whose operations and procedures raised many questions.
Though the report states that information about operations at private HBO’s was only available to a certain extent, it expressed appreciation for a number of practices observed at these institutes.
This includes the fact that structural educational evalutions – such as the National Student Survey (NSE) - are deemed important by private HBO’s and their outcomes incorporated in the educational and administrative activities of the these intsitutes. “Private institutes are very attentive to the quality of education they offer and the professionalism of their staff,” the report states.
The inspectorate was also impressed that more than 80% of of private institutes have a procedure in place for handling complaints despite not being obliged by Dutch legislation to do so.
It also differentiates between privately funded institutes who are members of the Netherlands Board for Training and Education (NRTO) – such as Wittenborg - and those who are not. Member institutes, it notes, left a more positive impression on the inspectorate and were also more swift in reporting to the inspectorate without the need for numerous prompts.
When members of the inspectorate met with Wittenborg management early in March, they also complemented the university, Wittenborg's Academic Dean, Dr Jacques Kaat, said.
In a subsequent report on their vsit to Wittenborg University, the inspectorate commented on, among other things, the physical layout of the university campus. "On the floor there are many open spaces and lots of glass walls. This eases the open contact between students, lecturers and staff."
Erik Martijnse, managing director at the inspectorate, also complimented Wittenborg for adding "of Applied Sciences" to the name "University". In response, Peter Birdsall CEO of Wittenborg, said the university is commited to transparency and takes pride in being a university of applied science (UAS). "Wittenborg is a University of Applied Sciences"
by Anesca Smith