Education sec. blocks Islamic school opening in Westland

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No Islamic primary school will be opening in Naaldwijk in Westland. While the municipality approved the plans for the school, State Secretary Sander Dekker of Education decided not to give his permission. According to him, the plan for the school does not meet all the conditions, NOS reports.

Foundation Yunus Emre already has three primary schools in The Hague and wanted to open one in Naaldwijkk on August 1st of next year. The Westland college of aldermen and mayor and the city council gave the go ahead - there was no reason to stop it because the foundation's plan met all the conditions, they said. But Dekker disagrees. According to him, the foundation does not have sufficient evidence that there is enough interest in Westland for Islamic education.

The condition Dekker is referring to states that Yunus Emre must prove that the school will have at least 257 pupils within five years, and will maintain that number of pupils for at least 15 years. Both foundation and municipality considered this condition met with a comparison to Maastricht, which already has an Islamic school. According to the municipality, Maastricht and Westland are comparable with one another on points including population size and the number of Muslims in the population. 

But Dekker thinks that there is too big a difference in the numbers to consider the comparison acceptable. Last year Maastricht had 3,412 residents of Turkish or Moroccan descent and Westland had 2,215. Maastricht had 5,109 residents "with an origin from an Islamic country", while Westland had 3,080. He therefore does not consider the condition met.