View on international education in the Brainport region

Geert Simons
Geert Simons Image courtesy: Josine-Frankhuizen Photography

As far as I know, the Netherlands is the only country in the world that subsidizes international education. International children bring the same state funding to their (public) international school as Dutch children do to their Dutch public school; plus extra funding for extra costs related to international education (IGBO-funding).

This state funding allows international schools in the Netherlands to operate with a relatively low tuition fee for parents on average of approximately 5000 euros a year per child.

Doing so the Netherlands is a very attractive place for international companies and for international families who fill many needed vacancies throughout a variety of fields; thus contribute actively to the economic growth and development of the country. Surely an example to follow!

But… also in the Netherlands, the characteristics of the new international employees are changing. The “old, traditional expat” is becoming a rarity; the majority of new international employees is employed with a local labour contract. Although salaries are very attractive, housing and tuition fees are no more included in most new labour contracts.

In that case… the relatively low tuition fees of approximately 5000 euros a year per child are still an impossible burden for many families. That’s why I am proud that with “SALTO International School” we have opened the first state-funded international school that can offer its quality education for almost no extra tuition fee (our fees are approximately 350 euros a year per child).

Okay… we had to compromise on some things. We don’t own 5 sports fields, 3 PE Halls etc; we work with “common Dutch” group sizes (an average of 28 students per class) etc. But… we don’t compromise on educational quality!

Not only the financial status of the new international employees in our region has changed, but also their intentions about the duration of their stay. The “old, tradition expat” stayed approximately 3 years and moved on afterwards. Our new international families also stay temporally (although their employers hope that they will settle themselves here forever); they tell us they intend to stay approximately 6 or 7 years. That also means that their educational needs change as well; those families need good international education (in English) with an intensive focus on Dutch and on integration in the Netherlands… which is exactly the concept or our “SALTO international school”!

We are convinced that we are offering the children of the new international families of our Brainport region the education that fits their very specific needs.  (Our long waiting lists demonstrate the big need for our concept)

But… We are also convinced that we are doing small and big employers in our Brainport region a huge favour. Employees who normally wouldn’t be able to move to the Netherlands and join those companies because they couldn’t afford the right education for their children… now can. We are offering the labour market of our region that much-needed flexibility; so more new employees can find our region not just very attractive… but also affordable/within reach.

#ASML, #Philips, #Brainport, #Lightyear, #NTS, #DAF, #TNO: you are all most welcome! Any support from your side is most welcome too…  Feel free to contact us, I am sure we can set up a wonderful collaboration.

Guest writer: Geert Simons

Founding head and director of internationalisation, SALTO schools Eindhoven (until Sep 30,2020)

Director-CEO of Proominent Foundation, Ede.



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