Amsterdam's new Islamic high school opens with fewer than 50 pupils

Amsterdam’s new Islamic high school opens with fewer than 50 pupils

Lessons began at Amsterdam's controversial new Islamic secondary school on Tuesday but there were no more than 50 pupils, broadcaster RTL said. That is well down on the 186 pupils which the school authorities had expected and which was used by the education ministry to base the school's funding on, RTL said. Both the city council and education minister Sander Dekker had tried to prevent the school from opening but lost their legal battle during the summer. A number of Amsterdam's Islamic primary schools also urged parents not to send their children to the school because of the board's lack of experience in education. The Netherlands has 53 Islamic primary schools but just two at secondary level, the new Cornelis Hage Lyceum in Amsterdam and the Avicenna College in Rotterdam. Another high school in Amsterdam was closed down in 2011 because of poor standards. State-funded faith schools are sanctioned in the Netherlands under freedom of education rules, if they have sufficient pupils and meet the proper standards.  More >

School has started without the books

Amsterdam’s new Islamic high school opens with fewer than 50 pupils Thousands of secondary school students are beginning the new school year without the required textbooks, the AD reported on Tuesday. The main provider of secondary school books, Van Dijk Educatie, says pupils were late ordering their books and that the company has been struggling with a shortage of staff. According to the company some 7,500 students do not have all their required books, of whom some have none at all. ‘We ask our customers to order well beforehand. But just before the schools in the north of the country started on Monday,  3,000 orders came in. And that means we can’t deliver on time,’ spokesperson Martin van Putten told the paper. But the AD spoke to pupils who have been waiting for their books for months and are making do with photocopies. ‘I look at the other students with their heavy bags and think: I wish I had a heavy bag like them,’ Imke Harstra (14), a pupil at the Noordgouw school from Heerde told the paper. Secondary schools council VO raad is concerned about the delivery problems and want to talk to Van Dijk, which expects to have solved the problem by the end of the week.  More >

'New gov't may bring back student grants'

Amsterdam’s new Islamic high school opens with fewer than 50 pupils The four parties currently negotiating to form a new cabinet may be considering bringing back some form of student grant, the Telegraaf said on Tuesday. Since 2015, new students have been unable to get any form of grant to help pay for their studies, unless they come from very poor families. Sources told the paper that no decision has yet been taken and that the four parties - VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie - realise such a move would be expensive. The CDA is the principle backer of bringing back grants in some form - particularly for bachelor students, the paper said. Students now leave university or college with an average debt of €14,000, according to figures from student organisation ISO earlier this year. They are also more likely to live at home to cut costs.  More >

Foreign students fail to find housing

Amsterdam’s new Islamic high school opens with fewer than 50 pupils Foreign students attending Dutch universities and hbo colleges are being forced to sleep on campsites, in hotels and even in cars because of the shortage of accommodation for them, national student union LSVB says. 'Universities have actively recruited the students who have nowhere to live. They need to take responsibility and find a solution,' Tariq Swebaransingh, chairman of the LSVB, said in a website statement. 'Like their Dutch peers, many of them have been looking for somewhere to live for months,' he said.'One British student slept on the sofa at our offices... but has finally decided to go back home because he had not found anywhere to live in four months.' The organisation has opened a hotline where students can report their problems. One French student told the hotline she had lived in a flat via Airbnb for a month and then moved to a hostel. Unable to afford it any longer, she too has returned to France. An additional problem, the Volkskrant said, is that many student houses don't want to open their doors to international students. They argue that international students are not in the country for long enough to build up close ties. The situation is so acute in Groningen that the city council has reopened a refugee centre where students can sleep for €16 a night. Some 112,000 foreign students were studying in the Netherlands in the previous academic year, many of them part-time through the Erasmus programme. Unless they are willing to take action on the housing crisis, universities should stop trying to bring in foreign students on 'false pretexts', Sewbaransingh said. Are you a foreign student with problems finding a house? Share your experiences below.  More >

Primary school teachers strike October 5

Dutch primary school teachers to go on strike on October 5 Primary school teachers in the Netherlands are planning to go on strike for a full day on October 5 in support of their claim for higher pay. The strike, organised by the two main teaching unions AOB and CNV, will go ahead unless the outgoing or incoming governments make it clear that they have allocated at least €900m to increase salaries and €500m to reduce pressure on teachers. Primary school teachers say they are paid well below their colleagues at secondary schools and peers educated to the same level. 'We are not looking for golden toilets or expensive cars,' said spokesman Jan van de Ven. 'We just want what is reasonable, and what is necessary.' According to the AD, more than half of school boards support the strike, with just 10% prepared to ban teachers from taking industrial action. Prime minister Mark Rutte has pledged more money for primary schools but has not yet said how much.  More >