Netherlands: Al-Huraa fined for issuing fraudulent diplomas; Dutch to pass law regulating use of term "University"

December 17, 2013
  • AACRAO Connect
  • International Admissions and Credential Evaluation

By Ann M. Koenig, AACRAO International Education Services

A court in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled last week that the entity operating in The Hague under the name “Al-Huraa University” be fined €50,000 for issuing degrees without authorization from the Dutch Ministry of Education. The Minister of Education also pushed for requiring that Al-Huraa include statements on its Web site that it is not allowed to issue degrees in The Netherlands.

“Al-Huraa University” is an organization operated by Iraqis in The Netherlands which claims to be a recognized university there, but, according to the Ministry of Education of The Netherlands, has never applied for recognition or accreditation in The Netherlands, and does not have permission to operate as an educational institution there. It has used the false claim of recognition by the Dutch Ministry of Education to gain membership in legitimate higher education associations, and the Ministry has informed those associations that “Al-Huraa University” has no recognition in The Netherlands--nor is it recognized by the Iraqi Ministry of Education.

The organization also had an operation in Sweden, where it falsely claimed to be “officially registered” (closed when Swedish education authorities became aware of the nature of the operation) and claims to be “accredited” by the “World Association of Universities and Colleges," which researchers in the field of higher education fraud consider to be an “accreditation mill."

AACRAO IES assessment

Based on the fact that “Al-Huraa University” is not officially recognized as a degree-granting institution by any bonafide education authorities in countries where it has or has had operations, and its false claims of recognition, AACRAO International Education Services considers documents issued by “Al-Huraa University” to have no academic value.

Dutch draft law

The activities and investigation of Al-Huraa have prompted the Dutch to draft a law regulating the use of the terms “universiteit / university” and “hogeschool / university of applied sciences” in The Netherlands, as well as the names of the academic credentials that such institutions are legally allowed to issue. The Minister of Education announced on her blog last week that such a law will be passed in 2014.

Credential evaluation resources for Dutch education

Information about recognized higher education institutions and programs of study in The Netherlands is recorded in the Ministry’s online Centraal Register Opleidingen Hoger Onderwijs (CROHO). The current version of CROHO can be downloaded.

AACRAO International Education Services recommends that users consult the CROHO for the latest information on authorized institutions and programs. The Dutch organization for international education, NUFFIC, is another excellent resource for information on education in The Netherlands. The EducationUSA office at the Fulbright Center in Amsterdam provides accurate, unbiased information on study in the US for Dutch students, and offers an excellent interface between US institutions and the Dutch higher education community.