Dutch primary schools expect major increase in expat kids: report

Primary school classroom
Primary school classroomPhoto: racorn/DepositPhotos

Dutch primary schools expect a significant increase in the number of children of expats in the coming years. While companies are rapidly taking on foreign tech experts and IT professionals, schools have to prepare for pupils who speak little or no Dutch, Trouw reports.

This issue is especially prevalent at primary schools in the Amsterdam region, Eindhoven and The Hague, according to the newspaper.

In Eindhoven the expectation is that the number of foreign pupils will increase by more than half to nearly 4 thousand by 2030. "It is already going very quickly", Geert Simons, director of primary school Reigerlaan and chairman of the committee that deals with internationalization at the 22 schools under Salto, said to Trouw. "In group 8, all pupils are still Dutch, among the preschool children a third comes from abroad, among toddlers already half."

According to Simons, expats increasingly prefer to put their children straight into an ordinary school, instead of an international school, because they expect to stay in the Netherlands for longer than a year or two.

A spokesperson for the municipality of Amstelveen, which is home to a large number of highly skilled migrants, confirmed this to the newspaper. "A stay abroad can easily last the entire primary school period." He added that waiting lists at international schools also play a role in the choice of a regular school.

Amstelveen expects that by 2020 a total of over 1,500 international pupils will be enrolled in a regular school in the municipality. "We are trying to find a good answer to the influx. That remains difficult. Many children come here with little or no knowledge of the Dutch language", the municipal spokesperson said.