Estonia blocks higher education institution due to sustainability fears ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

The Ministry of Education and Research.
The Ministry of Education and Research. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

The Estonian Ministry of Education and Research intends not to grant the right to teach to the private higher education institution Nordic School of Hospitality and Innovation (NSHI) as it deems the sustainability questionable due to NSHI's plan to mainly enroll foreign students.

The ministry's refusal to grant NSHI the right to teach is based on assessments by experts at the Estonian Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education and the Ministry of the Interior.

Indrek Reimand, deputy secretary general for higher education and research at the Ministry of Education, said that the risks pointed out in the assessments are compelling.

"In addition to security-related problems, the sustainability of the school is also one big question mark if the future students being able to begin their studies depends on whether or not they are granted a residency permit. Ultimately, we would jeopardize the rights of these students, including their right to receive high-quality education," Reimand said. 

NSHI applied for the right to provide English-language professional higher education under a personal services curriculum. The school envisaged foreign students as the majority of its student body, a large number of whom would have  come from third countries.

The assessment council of the Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education pointed out that an international student body alone does not ensure the internationality of the curriculum. The council said that NSHI should define the nature and extent of internationality as well as develop a financial risk analysis and a risk management plan. The Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education also said that the school has not detailed the profile and experience of the teaching staff NSHI plans to hire.

With a significant increase in the number of students from third countries, the threat to Estonia's internal security would also rise as would as the workload of law enforcement and security authorities, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

NSHI planned to provide education under the curricula of hotel service and management. Accommodation, catering and tourism have not been listed as areas suffering from labor shortage in a prognosis on the supply and demand of manpower until 2021 compiled by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

The right to teach personal service curricula in professional higher education has presently been granted to the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences and the University of Tartu Parnu College, both of which provide instruction in Estonian

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Editor: Helen Wright

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