The number of pupils in Islamic primary schools in the Netherlands has grown by 60 percent in ten years. This is evident from figures from the Education Executive Agency (DUO) that de Volkskrant has requested.
Primary Islamic education in 2008 still had 9324 pupils, in 2018 there were 15,078. There are now 54 Islamic primary schools and two Islamic secondary schools in the Netherlands, the newspaper writes. About one in eight Muslim children go to an Islamic primary school, which is more than 1 percent of the total number of primary school students.
The growth is because the quality of the schools is increasing, experts say. For example, in the last five years, Islamic schools have scored best on the Cito test.
In the past year there was much to do about the quality of some Islamic schools. In September, Nieuwsuur reported that schools affiliated with the Islamic school umbrella organization ISBO use a textbook that states that boys and girls are not allowed to look at each other and that Allah condemns homosexuality. The education inspectorate investigates this.
Earlier this year, it appeared that there was strong opposition in Westland municipality to the arrival of a new Islamic school. The city council continued to resist, even though the Council of State ruled that there was no legal reason for this. Minister Slob then put the city council out of play. He then went back to the Council of State, which still had to make a decision.
Religious education in the Netherlands is regulated in Article 23 of the Constitution. That is about the freedom of education. More than a century ago, in 1917, it was established that schools are funded by the government, just like public schools.
In the Netherlands, more than 60 percent of all children go to a Protestant or Catholic primary school. There is constant debate about freedom of education.