Urgent need for cash to teach child asylum seekers Dutch

Syrian children (Photo: Trocaire/Wikimedia Commons)Syrian children (Photo: Trocaire/Wikimedia Commons)

Primary schools urgently need more money for language lessons for child asylum seekers. The government gives money for extra language lessons if a school has more than four asylum children, but it is not nearly enough, according to a study done by education council PO-Raad among 200 schools, NOS reports.

Last year about 5,800 child asylum seekers enrolled in primary schools across the Netherlands. The expectation for this year is that another 10 thousand to 14 thousand asylum children will enter Dutch schools.

As these kids speak no Dutch, often suffer from trauma and sometimes haven't attended school at all, extra attention is needed for them. Schools therefore often decide to give asylum kids separate Dutch lessons before they join ordinary classrooms.

According to the PO-Raad, a special language class costs about 9 thousand euros per child. Schools and local authorities currently cover a large part of that amount. On average school boards contribute 850 euros per child and municipalities contribute 1,750 per child.

It is cheaper to place asylum children in ordinary classrooms directly, but that is not in their best interests. "Children can easily learn to get bread at a bakery in a year. But reasoning in the Dutch language needs two years language class and three years regular classroom, with extra attention, to get to the same language level as children born in the Netherlands who speak Dutch from the beginning" Rinda Den Beste, president of the council, said tot he broadcaster. "Without a special language class you won't catch up."

State Secretary Sander Dekker of Education is expected to reveal his plans for education for child asylum seekers later this week.