The mutual attraction is apparent: Delhizens got an opportunity to peek into education options in 22 European countries as representatives of nearly 110 educational and other organisations lined up to meet potential students at the first-ever European Higher Education Fair held in New Delhi this weekend. The fair saw a footfall of 8,500 visitors over two days.
As for the mutual interest Holland has homed in on India as a major source of international students for its 14 government-approved universities, 42 universities of professional education and 11 Institutes for International Education. For this purpose, Nuffic, which markets Dutch higher education abroad, plans to take admission support services closer to potential enrolees in India. "We are planning to open an office in Delhi," informed Marijke van der Kleij, Fair Coordinator, Nuffic.
According to Kleij, India is going to be one of five countries, each of which will host a Netherlands Education Support Office (NESO). The organisation plans to open these offices in Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia and Russia as well, she told HT Horizons. Nuffic is yet to decide on when its India office will be set up, but she said, "Hopefully within the next year or two." At present, NESOs are already situated in five countries -- China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico and Taipei.
Like organisations such as the British Council and Edu France, NESO will offer education services to people who want study in the country, counselling for aspirants and "also for Dutch institutions, which want to have contact with Indian institutes" and vice versa. Asked about the details, Kleij replied, "We are working on that."
At the moment, a Dutch education aspirant needs to contact individual institutions in the Netherlands.
Marloes Wichink Kruit, International Officer, Faculty of Economics, Vrije University-Amsterdam, which has on its rolls five-10 Indian pupils and was one of the exhibitors at the fair, reacted to this by saying, "Indian students can go to one central place. The (planned) office will provide information to students and be able to help them with visa problems. The process (for visas) is quite bureaucratic. There is a different procedure for Indian students … A university applies for a visa on its own and it takes four to six weeks to get one." Kleij added, "We are working hard to make the visa process quicker."
With a total of 5,59,000 students, the tiny country has 42,000 or eight per cent of all pupils from outside the Netherlands. However, Kleij could not provide the number of Indians studying in her country. Holland conducts 1,150 international programmes taught in English.