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Newcomers in front of the class

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Together with partners, such as Fontys University of Applied Sciences and the UAF, it is currently being investigated whether it is feasible to organise a one-year preparatory course in which people who do not originally come from the Netherlands, but have taught classes in their own country, are prepared to obtain a primary school teaching qualification (PABO).

Although there are many differences to overcome in the Dutch education system, this group shares an important quality: the teaching profession is a calling that is in your blood. We know that the shortage of teachers is worsening and we also see more and more children from different cultures in schools. In addition, there is a large group of mainly Syrian refugee status holders that is currently in a benefit situation. How nice it would be to bring all of these ingredients together in a project to get these people back in front of the class again. The intention is to train these newcomers, with residency status, over a one-year course to take the PABO entrance examination. Because there is a big difference in the way teaching is done in their home countries, compared to the Netherlands. In Syria, for example, the teachers are relatively authoritarian, while children in the Netherlands are taught to be critical at an early age. This calls for a completely different teaching method. But also subjects like history and social studies are, of course, completely different in terms of content.

The benefits are as follows:

  • people get back to work and leave the benefits system;
  • we address the shortage of teachers to a certain extent;
  • there is more diversity in the classroom;
  • people serve as an example within their own social environment; people see that if you work hard, you can achieve things here.

If the project goes ahead, people will have lessons two days a week and will serve an internship two days a week. In order to arrange internship placements, we need to find school boards willing to participate in the project. Throughout the process, a great deal of attention will be paid to the Dutch language. This needs to be brought up to a very high standard.

We will also need to work on the required competences that are often taught here in secondary school. Participants must be able to pass the PABO entrance exam after a year. Discussions on this are already taking place with Fontys and the UAF, among others. The PABO college De Kempel has also welcomed the project and has brought it to the attention of the national PABO consultation.

We are now mainly engaged in finding an initiator and funding. As the initiator of the project, the LEV group has also made money available from the innovation fund to get the project off the ground. Through its Vital Together Project, Rabobank has embraced the idea and is supporting us with knowledge. It will be a project for the whole of the southern Netherlands. If people meet the (stringent) conditions and are prepared to travel, they are welcome. If they receive benefit payments, they will be supported by requesting an exemption from the obligation to apply for jobs during that year. We hope that this project will receive wide support and that we can make a start with our first group in September 2019.


We are looking for a party that has the expertise to give further shape to such a project. We are thinking of one or more large municipalities that could jointly supply a project leader. This project leader would draw up a project plan together with the parties already involved (such as the UAF and Fontys) and raise the necessary funds. Together with Fontys, a curriculum must also be created that meets the PABO admission requirements.



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