Refugees at the Lebanon-Syria border (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/H. Murdock) - Credit: Child asylum seekers (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/H. Murdock)
Monday, 11 January 2016 - 11:18
Child asylum seekers start first day at school
Monday is the first day of school for 565 kids living in the asylum seeker camp Heumensoord in Nijmegen. For many of them it is the first day of school in months, for some even in years. Kids in other emergency shelters are still waiting, Dutch newspaper AD reports. From Monday 14 buses will take 296 elementary school children and 269 high school children to a hastily remodeled vocational school on the other side of Nijmegen every day. There they will get 5.5 hours of lessons a day. The lessons will focus on the Dutch language, lots of sports to help cope with the stress and some mathematics, according to the newspaper. Generally asylum seeker children are sent to school as quickly as possible, preferably within a few days. But due to the massive numbers of asylum seekers flowing into the country over the past year, this often takes much longer. At the end of November Education State Secretary Sander Dekker told the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, that there were 4,901 kids between the ages of 4 and 11 years and 5,920 kids between the ages of 12 and 17 years in refugee and asylum shelters. He could not say how many of them are attending school. Based on this the Volkskrant calculated that more than 1,000 extra teachers will be necessary to give these kids an education. He did say that it is very difficult to find sufficient locations and teachers that are not only willing, but also capable of teaching refugee kids. "The teachers must be able to deal with large differences in language levels and backgrounds and must be able to recognize trauma in asylum seeker kids." About half of the approximately 70 teachers that will be teaching asylum kids in Nijmegen come from schools in the area. The other half consists of part time teachers in the region.