November 16, 2023
An English-language debate was organized in Eindhoven on the evening of November 16, to help people not originally from the Netherlands to better understand the platforms of the political parties in the Netherlands, and for the representatives of the political parties to better understand the questions and concerns of people from abroad.
The participating parties were D66 (Democratic 66), CDA (Christian Democratic Apple), VVD (People’s Party for Liberals and Democracy), PvdA-Gl (Labour and Green left coalition) and VOLT (Pan-European political movement). The debate was organized by Eindhoven News and supported by Eindhoven Airport, Brainport Development, and Gemeente Eindhoven.
Language & culture education's rich contribution
Over numerous rounds of debate, many issues were discussed, such as inflation, taxation, housing issues, the 30% ruling (tax break for some international workers), immigration policy, economic growth, discrimination based on background/name, and higher education courses in English, to name a few!
A few representatives from HLE Network attended the event and made notes regarding the role that HL education has in several of the issues discussed:
It is important for corporations in this region to retain international talent. When language and culture courses for multilingual children are well-supported, families with a multicultural background could be more likely to integrate well.
It is important for the children of immigrants to the Netherlands to learn the Dutch language well. Although to some it is counter-intuitive, developing the home language actually supports the development of the school language. This includes reading in the home language and thus supporting multilingual library collections for children and young adults.
It is important for the high tech industry in this region to promote the study of technical subjects, to ensure that the necessary jobs can be filled. When language and culture courses are supported in efforts to invite guest lecturers with a technical background and who speak the home language, this contributes to getting children interested in science.
It is important to do something about the current mainstream teacher shortage. If some heritage language educators would be supported in becoming qualified mainstream school teachers (look at the example in New South Wales), this would benefit the local mainstream school system. (It is also important to help accompanying partners -- or "expat spouces" -- find suitabile work; see first bullet point!)
It is important for children to be educated to develop intercultural competences, a sense of world citizenship, and multilingual language skills to prepare them for the modern job market (see for example Brainport's vision for internationalization in education). Thus, it seems logical that we would want to see our heritage language and culture courses well-supported in this region.
It is important for all societies to fight against discrimination. When a community embraces multiculturalism and accepts all aspects of multilingual/multicultural children (e.g. by supporting heritage language and culture courses and by making mainstream schools "language friendly), this leads to a more inclusive society. A more inclusive society leads to more healthy identity and self-esteem development by multilingual/multicultural children.
HLE Network does not endorse any particular political party and believes that all parties should be attracted by the myriad of societal benefits brought by supporting language and culture courses for multilingual children.
Are you now wondering if HL education is well-supported in this region? The answer is that there is incredible room for improvement, which is why HLE Network engages in public outreach.