Netherlands: Immigrants discriminated in driving schools

Dutch driving schools reject immigrant students in order to keep a high success rate. That's according to Trouw newspaper on the basis of visits by 25 driving schools. The schools' success rate is advertised on the internet and a lower success rate is a bad advertisement.

Eighteen of the twenty five driving instructors confirmed that immigrants who didn't know the language so well were discriminated against. Four didn't recognize the stories and three refused to comment.

"This behavior is reprehensible," says a spokesperson of Bovag, an association of 750 driving schools. "If we would have indications that one of our school discriminates, then we would immediately take appropriate action." CBR, the Dutch authority in charge of driving instruction, has been publishing the success rates for the past five years.

Trouw established that the differences in percentages on the CBR site were "markedly big". Many driving schools with foreign names scored on average very low, other driving schools had 50% success rates on the first exam.

Driving school instructor Jan Bakker from Alkmaar says that driving schools go by the law on the road, but off the road they're less particular. He says there's a lot of cheating, brought on by the murderous competition. One in three succeed on the first exam in his school. Bakker says that he himself does not care about the low scores and likes to help every student achieve a driving license, but that many of his colleagues are sensitive to it. They select their clients and play with the numbers.

A Turkish instructor from Schiedam says he sometimes feels like a "shelter for otherwise rejected or frustrated" students. A spokesperson for CBR says that they can only inspect if there's discrimination during the exam, not in the selection of students. The schools are independent enterprises and do not fall under the authority of the CBR.

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

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