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Press releases on Home education in The Netherlands by
the Ministery of Education, Culture and Science of The Netherlands

Dutch original version of the complete
"Notitie Thuisonderwijs in Nederland" (.pdf file)

The texts here are unofficial translations

Press release part 1:

Minister van der Hoeven will acknowledge private schools (*only the part relevant to home education is translated)

Home education

Summary

A group of about hundred children are exempted from compulsory education based on overweighing parental objections against the "direction" of the education on all schools within a reasonable distance from the home. These children do not attend a school and it is unknown whether they receive education otherwise.Also no supervision exists on the education these children receive. It is proposed that exemption on ground of view of life will be granted only if parents take care of an alternative form of education and agree with a form of supervision by the educational inspection. The way how the inspection will be supervising this, will yet be worked out by the ministry.



Press release part 2:

Title: Home education in The Netherlands
Source: Ministery of Education, Culture and Science
Date: June 5th 2003

Home Education in The Netherlands.

1. Introduction

In the notice "Particulier primair en voortgezet onderwijs in Nederland" (Private primary and secondary education in The Netherlands) I answer a couple of questions from the Committee for Education, Culture and Science about private education. Home education is left out of consideration in that notice. To prevent confusion of tongues about both forms of education, I call your attention to home education separately in this notice. Home education is possible only for a limited group of pupils. De current legislation and regulations leave no room for home education to fulfil compulsory education. Home education is consequently exclusively possible for pupils that are exempted from compulsory education.

I am attached to making school education that attractive that all children of compulsory education age can receive education at the school of their choice. The school has to be a place where respect prevails for each other's convictions. Exemption from attending a school to receive education is possible in a couple of situations. Home education is an alternative. I see it as my task to see to it that these children also are offered the chances they deserve. Home education is not a right for the parents but an obligation to take care that pupils receive sufficient education. In paragraph 2 of this notice will be explained on what grounds exemption of compulsory education is possible and what consequence this involves. In the discussion of this a bottle-neck will be signalized for which in paragraph 3 measures are proposed. The notice ends with a summary.


2. Grounds for exemption of compulsory education

Article 5 of the Leerplichtwet 1969 (Compulsory Education Law) offers grounds of exemption form registration at a school. Parents can appeal for exemption of the obligation to register on the following grounds:a) physical or mental limitations of the child;b) overweighing objections against the "direction" of the education of all schools respectively institutions within a reasonable distance to their homec) registration at an institution of education outside The Netherlands.

The first mentioned category involves children who because of serious disabilities in their functioning are not able to receive education. This involves for example children who are in a prolonged coma and children with very poor cognitive abilities or other very serious handicaps. According to statements from municipalities these are about 1600 children in compulsory education age (about 0,07 percent of the children of compulsory education age). This does not involve the so-called "thuiszitters" (*home-stayers - children who stay home because no appropiate school is available or willing to register them) or children on waiting lists as described in the progress reports about "Weer Samen Naar School" (* inclusive education) and the pupil related financing: It concerns children of compulsory education age for whom temporarily no appropriate place can be found at a school. The children who are exempted from compulsory education because of serious disabilities in their functioning usually visit an institution for mentally handicapped or a children day centre. A part of the children stays permanently in a hospital or is bedridden at home.

The second category concerns children who are capable of receiving education. The parents however have on ground of their convictions *(view of life) serious objections against all schools within a reasonable distance of the home. According to statements of municipalities it involves over a hundred children. Generally these children receive home education. For this no legal regulations exist at the moment. Speaking strictly legally it is thus possible that these pupils receive no education at all. At the same time there is no legal basis for inspection on forms of education these children are possibly offered. It is consequently not clear whether these children in a sound way prepared for functioning independently in society. This is a undesirable situation. To the desired measures on this subject will be returned in paragraph 3.

The third category of children involves pupils that live in the frontier-area and receive eductaion in Germany or Belgium. The parents of these pupils have to show a statement at their municipality which shows that the pupils are registered at a foreign school and receive regular education there.


3. Measures

In paragraph 2 was established there is no legal ground for supervision of forms of education for children that are exempted from compulsory education. To regulate this supervision it is proposed to regulate by law that exemption on ground of directional / view of life objections is possible only if parents take care of an alternative form of education and agree with a form of inspection on the education by the educational inspection.

This change of law involves that with directional objections exemption will be possible only from attending a school and not from compulsory education. Both in the interest of the child as seen from society it is desirable that children that are exempted from the obligation to attend a school receive education. It is thus by no means my intention to increase the rights of parents to offer home-education. With the proposed measure I intend to protect the rights of children better. The conditions that are made to the quality of the education of exempted pupils possibly differ from the conditions that are made for a funded or non-funded school. E.g. with home education it can hardly be requested that each parent has a teaching certificate. But demands should be made for the quality of the education. In what way the inspection will supervise, is still to be worked out.


4. Summary

The position of education of exempted pupils at this time is not arranged satisfactorily with legislation and regulations. The following bottle-neck is the issue:

A group of about hundred children are exempted from compulsory education on ground of overweighing parental objections against the "direction" of education at all schools within a reasonable distance from the house. These children consequently do not visit a school but it is unknown whether they receive education in another way. Also no supervision exists on the education these children receive. To resolve this bottle-neck, the following measure is proposed: Exemption on ground of view of life (article 5, part b of the compulsory education law 1969 (Leerplichtwet 1969)) will only be granted if parents take care of an alternative form of education and agree with a form of supervision by the inspection of education. In what way the inspection will be supervising this, is still to be worked out by the ministry.







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