‘FEB to Yantai no earlier than 2020’
So said dean Harry Garretsen during a faculty council meeting. FEB was supposed to be one of the first faculties to start offering English language programmes at the Chinese sister campus but decided against this at the last moment. Very few people within the faculty actually support the plans.
There are still many doubts among the staff about the reasons for going to China. According to critics, there has not been enough research into whether Yantai is the best option for the RUG. The University Board also claims that, currently, there is not a lot of Chinese interest in economics and business programmes.
The faculty was working on a feasibility study, but before they could set pen to paper, the faculty board decided to at least postpone their participation in Yantai’s curriculum due to a lack of support within the faculty.
FEB now wants to wait for the Chinese sister campus to prove successful. ‘If we rejoin the programme, it will only be in a few years’ time. We can’t predict what the circumstances will be. That is why the FEB board decided to call off making a business case. In the current situation, it is not opportune’, responds dean Frans Rutten, former member of the faculty’s advisory committee.
The RUG itself is still working on a feasibility study. ‘As we indicated earlier, we are working on the business case. We are doing that together with the faculties and programmes that will be the first to start in Yantai, of course. That means mathematics & natural sciences and spatial sciences. The business case will be finished on schedule, before the summer’, says RUG spokesperson Gernant Deekens.
Whether the university will actually start a campus in China remains uncertain. The RUG is waiting for the Chinese ministry of education to greenlight the project. The university board will most likely decide whether the plans will move forward in early June.