Cowboys invade lucrative ‘inburgering’ market

learn-Dutch-languageCowboy language schools are cashing in on integration courses for new arrivals in the Netherlands, the Volkskrant said on Wednesday.

Since 2013, the provision of integration courses has been in the hands of the private sector. New arrivals have to pass an integration test within three years of their arrival but classes are not compulsory.  They can, however, borrow up to €10,000 to pay for tuition.

A considerable slice of that money is being eyed by sub-standard language schools, according to social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher.

The Volkskrant quotes him as saying there is ‘anecdotal evidence’ that some commercial language schools, whose number has shot up from 128 to 171 in the last two years, are ‘offering free laptops to students and that bureaus are only interested in getting as much money as possible and not achieving in good exam results.’




Schools are also putting large numbers of students in one class, or offer extra classes to people when they don’t need them, the paper said.

Students can only get a loan if the school of their choice has a certificate which ensures it has an educational plan and a sufficient number of qualified teachers.

However, the rules say nothing about the number of students per class or a minimal number of contact hours a week. The certification system itself has recently come under fire for being inadequate.

The minister is also planning to appoint inspectors to check the quality of the courses.