Immigrant mothers sent to integration classes
24 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — Twenty thousand immigrant mothers have been ordered by Rotterdam City Council to take Dutch language courses.
24 March 2005
AMSTERDAM — Twenty thousand immigrant mothers have been ordered by Rotterdam City Council to take Dutch language courses.
If they do not successfully complete the course — entitled 'Meer dan taal alleen' (More than just the language) — within five years, they will be faced with a EUR 6,000 bill to pay for the lessons. The women are immigrants who have been judged to speak poor or no Dutch, Alderman Leonard Geluk said on Thursday.
Geluk is Rotterdam's alderman for education and integration. He said the courses would not deal with the Dutch language alone, but would also deal with fostering involvement in schools and the local society.
The ambitious project is estimated to cost EUR 160 million. Rotterdam City Council hopes to get EUR 10 million from the national government to help pay for the scheme.
Geluk said Rotterdam was ahead of the rest of the country in terms of implementing the integration policies championed by Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk.
Candidates for the Rotterdam scheme have been nominated by a network of community and women's organisations. Immigrant women who hardly ever venture into the public were contacted at home to take part in the scheme.
Participants in the language and integration courses will have to sign a contract and pay EUR 270.
"We expect that the mothers will, on mass, make use of the offer as it is an offer that they can't refuse," said Geluk.
The programme is part of an action plan — drawn up by an integration committee for immigrant women, PaVEM — to get 240,000 "old-comers" to the Netherlands to speak Dutch by 2010.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news