Vocational colleges want compensation for loss of integration courses

Four vocational training college groups are demanding €100m in damages from the social affairs ministry to compensate them for losing lucrative contracts to provide civic integration courses, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.

Rotterdam’s Albeda and Zadkine college groups, the Amsterdam Roc and the Mondriaan Roc in The Hague say they lost out when the government opened the market to competition in 2007.
They want the social affairs ministry, which is charged with organising civic integration, to come up with the cash.
The colleges had been required by law to offer the courses to new and older immigrants from 1998, but lost their monopoly when the law was suddenly changed.
Their lawyers told the paper it was impossible for the college groups to make the switch to open competition within two months. They were left with excess staff on permanent contracts and surplus buildings plus a loss of income.
At the time of the changeover ministers, including then-education minister Mark Rutte, gave assurances the colleges would not be disproportionately affected.
The college groups have been campaigning for compensation for four years and will submit their formal claim at the end of the month, the Volkskrant said. Rotterdam’s Zadkine group is currently in serious financial trouble.

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