Schools can't use ethnic selection

18th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Education Inspectorate has confirmed its advice from three years ago that separate primary school waiting lists for native and immigrant children are legally dubious and should not be used. But the inspectorate also said in a report on ethnic spread and integration in the Dutch education system that schools must draw up obligatory agreements with municipal councils over the level of integration in schools. It said this should be determined by law.

18 May 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Education Inspectorate has confirmed its advice from three years ago that separate primary school waiting lists for native and immigrant children are legally dubious and should not be used.
 
But the inspectorate also said in a report on ethnic spread and integration in the Dutch education system that schools must draw up obligatory agreements with municipal councils over the level of integration in schools. It said this should be determined by law.

Rotterdam Council wants to establish separate waiting lists for native and immigrant children to create a better ethnic mix in the city's schools.

One of the city's primary schools, De Pijler, introduced a similar system a couple of years ago to create a balance in the number of white and non-white pupils.
 
Despite rejecting separate waiting lists based on ethnicity, the education inspectorate said in its report, published on Wednesday, that a distinction can be made on language deficiencies or learning difficulties.

In contrast to a distinction based on race, it said such a regulation would not breach national and international legislation.

In reaction, Rotterdam Council greeted the alternative proposal with enthusiasm.

And the inspectorate also said municipal councils could offer support to groups of native Dutch parents who bring their children to "black" schools. The inspectorate said this could be a method to promote integration.

Councils have authority over school facilities and an immigrant primary school where native Dutch consciously enrol their children could be given priority in the allocation of new classrooms. This would require a change in legislation.

In the integration plans that schools and municipal councils must draw up, both parties may decide how much they are prepared to stimulate integration at the cost of parent and pupil liberties in school choice.

Schools and councils must also monitor how many native pupils are leaving the area due to the integration plans.

Education Minister Maria van der Hoeven has previously said that councils may not enter into obligatory agreements with schools over ethnic spreading.

She has always said the education arrears of pupils, not their land of origin, should be the determining factor.
 
Van der Hoeven also expressed concerns over Rotterdam's plan, in contrast to colleague Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk, who called it "a positive contribution" to integration.

The Lower House of Parliament also backs Rotterdam's proposal, despite the fact the Christian Democrat CDA — like Minister Van der Hoeven — has questioned whether a spread based on ethnic background is legally viable.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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