The Dutch cabinet is to set up an investigation into informal weekend schools in the Netherlands following the news that Turkey is to fund 12 Saturday and Sunday schools for children aged six to 17.
The aim is to find out which countries as well as Turkey are funding informal schooling, social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees said. The investigation has been launched, Koolmees said, because he ‘shared MPs concerns’ about the development.
‘The Netherlands is a free and open society and that means that everyone is free to decide what courses or education programmes they follow,’ the ministry statement said.
‘Countries are free to stimulate their own language and culture abroad… and this is something the Netherlands does too. However, the cabinet does not consider it desirable if this education hinders integration in the Netherlands, stimulates anti-democratic opinion or encourages opposition to the rule of law.’
The Turkish government has agreed to share the curriculum at the weekend schools and other relevant information with the Dutch authorities, Koolmees said. It has also said that the emphasis of the schools will be on language skills.
In total Dutch Turkish organisations made 18 requests for grants to fund the schools and 12 have been honoured. The funding is up to €16,500 per year.
The money comes from the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities project, which helps ‘local and expat citizens’.
The YTB ‘organises cultural activities and give legal consultancy for human rights and all kinds of support to Turkish people living abroad,’ it states on the website.
The Dutch education ministry funds a special network for Dutch education world wide which works with some 200 schools.
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