The Ministry of Education and Research is not to grant the right to teach to the private higher education institution Nordic School of Hospitality and Innovation over concerns regarding the questionable sustainability of the institute of higher education, which intends to accept mostly foreign students. The ministry also cited security considerations.
The ministry based its decision not to grant the school the right to teach on an expert analysis conducted by the Estonian Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education (EKKA) as well as the as an assessment by the Ministry of the Interior.
Ministry of Education Deputy Secretary General for Higher Education and Research Indrek Reimand noted that the risks highlighted in these assessments were compelling.
"In addition to security-related problems, the school's sustainability is one big question mark if future students being able to begin their studies is dependent on receiving a residence permit," Reimand said. "We would ultimately be jeopardizing the students' rights, including their right to quality higher education."
The Nordic School of Hospitality and Innovation (NSHI) sought the right to provide English-language professional higher education under a personal services curriculum. The higher education institute envisioned its student body to consist of primarily foreign students, most of whom would have come to study from third countries.
The assessment board of the EKKA noted that an international student body in itself does not ensure the internationality of a curriculum. It is necessary to clearly determine the nature and extent of internationality, as well as draw up a financial risk analysis and risk management plan for the institute of higher education. The EKKA also found that there is not enough clarity regarding the profile and experiences of teaching staff being hired.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, a significant increase in the number of students from third countries would also increase the threat to Estonia's internal security as well as the workload of law enforcement and security authorities.
The NSHI planned to provide education in the field of hotel service and management. Institutes of higher education already providing education in this field are the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences and the University of Tartu Pärnu College, both of which teach the program in Estonian.
Editor: Aili Vahtla