Every January, Amsterdam’s Parool newspaper publishes a handy guide to the city’s secondary schools. It includes straightforward information about exam results and drop-out rates as well as a more controversial calculations on how black, white or mixed the school is.
But this year the guide has proved more contentious than usual, with the inclusion of a new school called De Passie which teaches along orthodox Christian lines.
Ahmed Aboutateb, the man responsible for education on Amsterdam city council, is investigating a statement by the school director that homosexuality is in conflict with the school’s principles and that an openly gay teacher would not be given a job.
De Passie has denied it discriminates. It says it may even have gay teachers – but non-practising ones, in line with Bible teaching. There is no difference, the school says, to a Muslim school employing only Muslim teachers.
The gay issue aside, there are is another worrying thing about De Passie. It teaches creationism as fact – evolution is regarded as a leading scientific theory.
Still, as the Parool points out, at least the pupils are not banned from watching tv and using the internet, as they are at some Bible belt schools. A bit of exposure to the real world might bring them to their senses.