UN Special Rapporteur: end racism and discrimination in Dutch education

A new report issued by the UN Special Rapporteur on racism and xenophobia calls on the Dutch government to end racism and discrimination in education. The report is based on widespread consultations with government officials and various groups in society.

Examples of racism and discrimination in education mentioned in the report are the higher drop-out rates among racial minorities compared to ethnic Netherlanders. Also, students with a Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese or Antillean background disproportionally enter secondary education at lower levels (referring to the 2018 Annual Report of the Central Bureau of Statistics).

The Special Rapporteur recommends among others, that the Dutch government:

  • ensure that affected and vulnerable groups participate in decision making.
  • ensure that all sectors of the government receive systematic anti-discrimination and intercultural sensitivity training.
  • ensure that racial and ethnic minorities enjoy effective protection from racial discrimination and have access to remedies.
  • approach racial equality and non-discrimination in an intersectional way, i.e. addressing the ways that racial inequality overlaps with other identities (gender, lgbtqi), citizenship and migration status and religion.

The Special Rapporteur also recommends that the Dutch government end racism and discrimination in education by implementing:

“educational initiatives that provide a fuller account of the Netherlands’ history, including its participation in endeavours characterized by racial discrimination and subordination. At a fundamental level, far more needs to be done to educate all Netherlanders both about slavery and colonialism as manifestations of systematic racial subordination, including and especially the subordination of peoples of former colonies, and about those enslaved and traded by their ancestors. This education must encompass a fuller account of the fundamental contributions that racial and ethnic minorities have made, both during and since the colonial period, to consolidating national prosperity. The history of Roma, Sinti and Travellers is equally important. Similarly, education is required to highlight the contributions that others, such as people of Turkish and Moroccan background, who emigrated originally under labour migration regimes and who contributed and continue to contribute to the prosperity of the Netherlands. Educational initiatives in schools and in public media, museums and in other cultural forums are essential to counter the images and narratives of racial and ethnic minorities as criminals, strangers, burdens and so forth.”

Read the full report here.

Read the report recently filed by the Rutu Foundation to the UN Committee on Racial Discrimination on language based exclusion in Dutch education.

Teacher’s Guide on Diversity and Multilingualism

The Rutu Foundation and its partners published a Teacher’s Guide on Dealing With Diversity and Multilingualism in Primary Education, including a module on diversity, inclusion and racism in the classroom. The modules (in Dutch) can be freely downloaded here.

More information on where children can obtain support against racism and discrimination in the Netherlands can be found here.