In an online interview Freddy Weima explained that Nuffic would remain responsible for promoting internationalisation across the education sector in the Netherlands, despite some operational changes.
“In the long term, I still think Nuffic has a bright future ahead”
The organisation previously warned that 2019 proposed funding cuts could threaten internationalisation across the Netherlands and impact its work.
“We have to say goodbye to the Neso Network. Our offices abroad will close from 2021,” Weima said, beginning with offices in Turkey, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and China.
“It’s a political decision, and we can only respect it. We obviously think it’s a shame and hope we can find other ways of continuing educational cooperation in some countries.”
Funding for the Holland Alumni Network will end after 2021, but Nuffic “hopes there’s potential for some sort of relaunch, because it would be a real shame if the network was lost”, Weima added.
“In the long term, I still think Nuffic has a bright future ahead. Our people have been doing a great job despite the coronavirus crisis. We’ve also adopted a solid strategy for the coming five years, which we feel very confident about.”
The strategy up until 2025 will continue to “work for the entire education sector” via Nuffic support for schools and education institutions in their internationalisation activities. It will also implement large-scale grant programs such as the Orange Knowledge Programme and Erasmus+.
Additionally, it will have sector specific roles, including contributing to the development of competences like language skills or an international outlook at primary and secondary levels, and introducing tool kits for teacher mobility at vocational education and training levels.
By 2025, at least 10% of Dutch vocational students will benefit from an experience abroad thanks to the organisation’s support, it has said.
Similarly, a “greater and more diverse group” of higher education students will move abroad for study or internship, Nuffic said, and it will support more research universities and universities of applied sciences in taking part in global capacity development projects.
“In another change, a number of our current responsibilities such as credential evaluation, research activities and the provision of information to students will be enshrined in law in future,” Weima said.
“This will allow us to guarantee the continuity of these services in the longer term. These are positive developments.”
Nuffic will also seek to find ways to continue educational cooperation in some countries, touting a Ministry of Education, Culture and Science plan to appoint teaching and science attachés and its Global development program offices and branches supporting local scholarship programs and projects overseas as “opportunities”.
“There are opportunities in this area for several Neso countries, which we will be exploring in the near future,” Weima explained.
“International relations have become far more turbulent in recent years. At the same time, the coronavirus crisis has illustrated just how interconnected our world really is. It has made collaboration in the fields of education and science all the more crucial.”
Nuffic aims to continue “contributing to peaceful international relations”, and working with sister organisations like DAAD and the British Council to implement EU-commissioned projects, such as the HOPES programme for Syrian refugees.
“International relations have become far more turbulent in recent years”
“We think there’s a lot more potential in that area. For example, we are closely involved in an ongoing collaboration between the European Union and African Union,” Weima noted.
“We’ll have a new organisation in place by January 2021, in which we want to accommodate as many employees as possible,” he added.
“It’s an exciting and intensive process that requires a great deal of care; our people are our greatest asset. They have a wealth of knowledge, which partners such as schools, institutions and ministries appreciate.”