In 2003, 15 percent of primary and secondary school pupils in the Netherlands have a non-western foreign background. According to the forecasts of the foreign population in the Netherlands, this will have risen to 20 percent by 2020. The percentage of western foreign pupils will rise from 6 to 20 percent in the same period. Overall, nearly 30 percent of pupils in primary and secondary schools will have a foreign background in 2020.
Number of 4-11 year-olds, 1996-2020
Rising share of foreign primary school pupils
Nearly all 4-11 year-olds in the Netherlands go to primary school. The number of children in this age group will continue to rise slightly in the coming years because of the increase in the number of births in the second half of the nineties. After 2010 the number of children aged 4-11 will fall, because of the expected fall in the number of births in the next few years.
The number of native children aged 4-11 years will fall by 135 thousand to 1.1 million between 2003 to 2020. The number of children with a non-western foreign background, however, will rise from 200 thousand to 280 thousand. Western immigrant children in this age group will increase from 100 thousand to 150 thousand in the same period. The share of foreign children in primary education will thus increase from one in five in 2003 to one in three in 2020.
Number of 12-17 year-olds, 1996-2020
More foreign children in secondary education
Most 12-17 year-olds are in secondary education. The number of 12-17 year-olds was fairly stable in the second half of the nineties. The number is expected to increase until 2015, and subsequently to fall, partly because of the decrease in the number of children born in the next few years. In this age group too, the share of native Dutch children will decrease, while the number of children with a foreign background will rise from 20 percent in 2003 to nearly 30 percent in 2020.
Andries de Jong