Monday, 14 September 2015 - 15:35
Shortage of Dutch language courses holding refugees back
A shortage of Dutch language courses is the biggest problem standing in the way of highly educated refugees who want to further their studies. Many universities and colleges are welcoming highly trained refugees, but only after they have learned Dutch. This is according to Albert de Voogd, head of the UAF, the organization that helps refugees find study and work, in an interview with BNR on Monday. "In particular the higher educated who want to further their studies in the Netherlands are suffering from this. Universities and colleges accept the refugees, but they still have to comply with the starting qualifications." According to De Voogd, one of the major problems is that refugees often have to travel very far if the wish to follow a proper Dutch language course. "Many shelter locations are on the edges of our country and there the offer of language courses is low. This means that refugees have to travel far and such travels soon costs hundreds of euros per month. Many people simply do not have this money." The UAF has been working on expanding the supply of proper Dutch language courses for about three years. The only thing still missing is a proper travel allowance. According to De Voogd, the central agency for the reception of asylum seekers COA does have a small budget for this, but not enough to help all refugees. The UAF is currently also negotiating with providers of Dutch courses to spread the supply over more of the country.