In a blog post it was mentioned that GUADEC will be held at The Hague University this year. I immediately wondered; does The Hague have a University?? Although The Hague is the political capital of the Netherlands, it does not have a University. Looking at the English website of this “University”, they call themselves “The Hague University of applied science”, with “of applied science” in a very tiny font. And that is the correct name, since it is not a regular, real University. Right now they can use the shorter “The Hague University” even though they are not a University because the name University is not protected by law in the Netherlands. In Dutch the name “hogeschool” or HBO is used for this kind of educational institutes, I hear this is similar to “Fachhochschule” in German.
More and more “hogescholen” in the Netherlands are naming themselves Universities, which I think is a shame and misleading. Why misleading? These institutes are not allowed to hand out the academic BSc or MSc degrees, they can only offer “professional” bachelor or master degrees. Some actually offer BSc and MSc education, but they can only do so by using course material of a recognized University that can actually hand out these academic degrees. In this case, you will not receive a BSc or MSc from this “hogeschool”, but from that recognized University. Pure re-sale of education. Things like this are not clearly stated on their website and might be very misleading to prospective foreign students (who will hopefully look more closely to see what kind of degrees are actually offered). Why a shame? It might devaluate the proper academic degrees that people have obtained at a real University because of confusion and fraud.
Most likely this is being caused by the shitty state of education in the Netherlands. Especially at these “universities of applied science” the focus is on making money and not on providing proper education to the students. (Yes, there are real world examples of this). This focus results in appointing leaders that have no clue about teaching, only about making money. Add to this a secondary school system that has been changed twice or thrice in the last 10 years and is still failing, a system wherein Universities are paid by the number of graduated students but not by quality of education and research, and a constant threat of cutting budgets even further, and you have a recipe for failure. The Dutch government has ambitions to offer the best education in the world, but is falling short due to mismanagement across the board.
The good news is that legislation is apparently in the works to protect usage of “universiteit”, “university” and “hogeschool”.