Amsterdam is struggling to get refugee children into school: Parool

Refugee children on the Syrian border.

Refugee children on the Syrian border.Amsterdam council has said there is ‘no guarantee’ that some refugee children living in the city will go to school any time soon, blaming organisational issues and the shortage of teachers and school places.

Some 1,000 refugees have been housed on a ferry boat in the western harbour since October 1, including 167 children.

Aid organisations told the Parool they may face the same long wait as 60 other children in temporary accommodation who could not go to school for six months. According to the rules, schooling must be offered within three months of arrival.

Amsterdam’s refugee chief Rutger Groot Wassink told the Parool that it was always a challenge to find places for the children. ‘We are trying to find suitable places for every child as quickly as possible but no one can achieve the impossible,’ he told the paper.

Experts said organising education for children in emergency accommodation is more difficult.

‘It is usually not a problem when people are in regular asylum seeker centres, where they know the ropes but not in situations like this. The children will fall behind and it’s a traumatic experience for them,’ Vluchtelingenwerk spokeswoman Evita Bloemenheuvel told the paper.

Amsterdam is currently home to 3,100 refugees spread over seven locations.

Groot Wassink said the council has a responsibility but also said a ‘failing cabinet’ is putting local councils under ‘irresponsible pressure’.

‘We are being told not only to provide accommodation but also care and education. We must abolish emergency housing as soon as possible and  go back to regular accommodation, and all the services that go with it,’ he told the paper.

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