Amsterdam: Children learning abroad to lose residence status

Amsterdam: Children learning abroad to lose residence status

According to Amsterdam alderman Lodewijk Asscher (Education, Labor Party), 1187 Amsterdam children went to school abroad in the 2008/2008 school year, mostly in elementary school age.  According to a survey, half of the parent lack koran education and their own culture in the Netherlands.  Many parents also send their children to school abroad if they don't get child benefits or free medical insurance any more.

These include about 300 children in Egypt, 160 in Morocco and 128 in Ghana.  Amsterdam intends to discourage this since these children stay abroad for years.  When they come back they speak poor Dutch and have trouble connecting to Dutch society.  According to a municipality study, half of these children are not able to read or write Dutch.

According to the compulsory education law, children may go to school abroad under certain conditions.  This regulation is meant for children who live in the Netherlands, but go to school in Belgium or Germany.

Asscher says that in the past exemptions were easy to get for children who don't live in the Netherlands, but that is over.  The second time parents ask for an exemption for their children to go abroad to study for eight months, the municipality will understand from that that the children are no longer residents of the Netherlands. 

The municipal registration department (DPG) will then start an investigation.  DPG and the municipality, together with social security, will also investigate the 1,187 children.

Sources: NRC, AT5, Telegraaf (Dutch)

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