THE HAGUE – Foundation ‘De Ozonlaag’ has been granted permission by the Dutch ministry of Education, Culture and Science to establish a secondary school in Schilderswijk, with education based primarily Islamic values.
The school ‘De Ozonlaag’ would teach MAVO and VWO. MAVO is the type of education most of the children in Schilderswijk receive, focused more on practical education, such as administrative work and managerial positions. Pupils who study VWO are able to continue to university-level education. The Ministry has denied the requested ‘HAVO’ department, as most children in Schilderswijk either study MAVO or VWO, and there is a significant chance that the HAVO department will not get enough applications. HAVO is the second tier of education between MAVO and VWO which focuses on combining theory with practice. Those who have finished HAVO in The Hague often go to the ‘Haagse Hogeschool’, located close to Hollands Spoor.
The school hopes to open on the 1st of August in 2017, and to offer education to between 3000 and 5000 pupils. This would be the first case of an Islamic secondary school in The Hague, despite 8 previous applications, of which none were accepted.
The chair of the De Ozonlaag is also the president of the ‘Stichting Islamitisch Onderwijs Amsterdam en Omstreken (SIO)’, the ‘Foundation for Islamic Education in Amsterdam and Surroundings’. They are also trying to found an Islamic secondary school, but in the city centre of Amsterdam. However, the municipality did not grant permission, as those who lobbied for it were also on the board of Islamic College Amsterdam, which closed due to a lack of students.
De Ozonlaag has not yet applied to the municipality of The Hague regarding the location of the comprehensive school. ‘The application already complies with the standards on providing secondary education, and if the organisation does too, the municipality will provide a location’, said an official of the municipality.
The municipality has continued talks with ‘De Ozonlaag’ despite the Amsterdam Government Inspection launching an investigation into the board of the SIO. The Hague is mindful of the result of that investigation, and is going to launch their own research ‘to determine whether De Ozonlaag do indeed meet all standards.’
The Hague currently does have two Islamic primary schools, the Yunus Emre (at the Mandelaplein) and the Al-Qoeba (at ‘s-Gravenzandelaan).