"Black" secondary vocational schools will remain "black"

17th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Municipalities have resigned themselves to the fact that VMBO schools in the larger cities will continue to have higher concentrations of students of ethnic background in the coming years.

17 March 2008

AMSTERDAM – Municipalities have resigned themselves to the fact that VMBO schools (secondary vocational education) in the larger cities will continue to have higher concentrations of students of ethnic background in the coming years. Newspaper Trouw reports this Monday on the basis of figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and talks with the aldermen for education in the four large cities.

The aldermen say the segregation of blacks and whites is 'a given.'

The CBS points out that a quarter of the secondary schools in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht are predominantly "black." Eight in ten students at these schools are of non-Western background.

The black schools are primarily secondary vocational institutions, since most minority youth end up at these schools. VMBO is predominantly black, while HAVO (senior general secondary education) and VWO (university preparatory education) are predominantly white, Trouw writes.

The aldermen said that mixed schools continue to be the ideal, but there is little policy at the moment to ensure that VMBO becomes more mixed. The aldermen in Rotterdam and The Hague, Leonard Geluk (CDA) and Sander Dekker (VVD), want to abandon the "black-white discussion."

Alderwoman for education in Amsterdam, who resigned Sunday, Hennah Buyne (PvdA) says that children are best served by giving them the opportunity to graduate with a good diploma. "It is less important whether this takes place at a black or white school."

The large cities want to focus attention on those VMBO schools most plagued by learning arrears, poverty and integration problems. The cities also expect a great deal from pre-school education aimed at working away language arrears at an early stage.

On Monday afternoon the aldermen of the four large cities will sign agreements with state secretary for education Sharon Dijksma (PvdA) on expanding these programmes.

Alderwoman in Utrecht Rinda den Besten (PvdA) says these problems will take many years to solve.  Utrecht is trying to stop "white flight" to schools outside of the city, but largely in vain so far, Trouw reports.

The share of black schools in Amsterdam has risen from 24 to 33 percent in four years' time. The municipality cannot explain the increase. In The Hague the share of black schools fell from 26 to 16 percent in four years' time.

[Copyright Expatica News 2008]

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