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Dutch schools ‘wrestle’ with surge in expat children

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Primary schools in Eindhoven, Amsterdam and The Hague are expecting a surge in the number of ‘expat’ children in the coming years, Trouw reported on Monday.

The paper says schools are having to get ready to cope with the expected influx of new arrivals who are moving to the Netherlands to work because of the shortage of skilled IT staff and technicians. 

Eindhoven, for example, is expecting that the number of children from ‘skilled migrant’ families will reach 4,000 between now and 2030. And Geert Simons, head of the Reigerlaan primary school in Eindhoven, told the paper that one third of four-year-olds starting school are foreign in origin.The paper said schools are not given extra cash by the government to cope with the rise in pupils who do not speak Dutch at home because their parents are well educated.

This means local authorities have to fund special language classes and programmes to integrate foreign children into the Dutch system, the paper said. In Eindhoven, for example, the Reigerlaan is experimenting with a new ‘international’ class for four-year-olds.

'We do have a challenge on hand with internationalised education,’ Kris de Prins, director of the Holland Expat Centre in Eindhoven, told The region, he said, has opted to ‘internationalise regular schools to cope with the growing numbers of not only international children, but also Dutch children, of which the parents are convinced that internationalised education is important for their children’s development.’ But there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, De Prins said. 

School fees

Research published by the International Community Advisory Platform in 2017 showed that 63% of expats had no help from their employer in paying school fees, and some 53% already had children at Dutch schools. Fewer than one in four opted for expensive, private international schools, where the fees can reach upwards of €25,000 for a year.

The survey showed that most internationals in the Netherlands came here by choice and live here for more than five years. They also want their children to integrate into the Dutch community.


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