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Education of International Newly Arrived migrant pupils at primary and secondary school level


Municipality Gent

Hans Thielemans – Officer

Municipality Helsinki

Anna Matikainen – Officer

Municipality Rotterdam

Venhar Sariaslan – Policy Advisor

René Keijzer – Advisor International Affairs



About Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a young, ambitious, international city at the river Maas with around 625.000 citizens. A city with involved citizens and a strong, unique personality. About 11.000 people work as civil servants for the City of Rotterdam, from policy makers to street sweepers.

In Rotterdam: 318.603 are native Dutch. Others have 174 nationalities: 228.353 are from non-western origin and another 70.391 are from western origin.

The diversity in the city is a strength. Everyone has their own specific talents. We are on the lookout for all those talents in the city and we are working on ways to make each of these talents blossom in its own way. There is a great deal of varied talent in the city.

The Rotterdam harbour is one of the world’s leading harbours. The harbour is the largest of Europe and the harbour-industrial complex is stretching out for more than 40 kilometres from the inner city to the new developed Maasvlakte 2 in the North Sea. The maritime and industrial cluster in the harbour directly gives employment to over 90,000 people.

Besides the harbour, the city of Rotterdam today has some other main features whichare characteristic for the city’s economy. The city is well known for its famous and challenging architecture and has also a huge medical university which can be defined as world famous for multiple topics. Furthermore, the city has a long history in trading and logistics. Nowadays, the city of Rotterdam has the ambition to develop the service sector, especially the creative sector, in a broad sense. The tourist industry is growing rapidly, which is boosted by modern architecture and significant improvement of the inner city. More and more tourists from all over Europe and the world are discovering the city of Rotterdam to visit for example the new market hall, the new central station, the Erasmus bridge and the south-bank city development. Price winning innovative architecture and city planning have become mayor city-assets.




Newly Arrived Migrants pupilS in Rotterdam

In Rotterdam, a few classes at ‘regular’ schools are equipped to educate children who are less than two years in the Netherland. These classes are called International Transition Classes (Internationale schakel klassen, ISK) in secondary education. In primary education these transition classes are called Transition Classes (schakelklassen). The child will follow an intense language programme in these classes. When the child speaks and writes Dutch sufficiently, he or she will be transferred to a ‘regular’ class in primary or secondary education. Rotterdam has 13 primary schools with 40 transition classes and approx. 400 pupils. Bothe Ministry of Education as well as the Municipality funds these classes. De teachers are special trained and the classes are small, maximum of 15 pupils.

Secondary education in the Netherlands differentiates between various levels of education. The children will be tested to establish the level at which he or she can start, this varies from lower vocational education till pre univisersity education. The test will include an intelligence test and a match test. The parent will then be issued with a recommendation for the child. After testing the pupil will be referred to one of the five schools with an International Transition Class. In total there are 900 pupils which are in ISK. De Ministry of Education funds these classes for two years.