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Amid cuts, The Hague boosts funding for language courses

The Municipality of The Hague has decided to partially offset national budget cuts to funding for language courses for migrants, and will set aside more than 2 million euros to guarantee that 7.540 residents of The Hague can continue to take Dutch language lessons for the next two years.

Eighty percent of the national budget for integration and language courses for adults is set to disappear on January 1, 2013 as a result of austerity measures.

Although the Dutch government apparently does not view integration and Dutch language courses for non-natives as a top priority, officials in The Hague see things differently.

According to Deputy Mayor Ingrid van Engelshoven (Education and Public Services), "Linguistic skills are the basis for full-fledged participation in society. We shouldn’t deny people that chance."

Deputy Mayor Marnix Norder (Integration) added, "Language is the key to good integration. That’s why money is being allotted so that this group of newcomers can quickly learn Dutch."

The boost in funding is meant to sustain Dutch language training for residents of The Hague who do not have a thorough command of Dutch, and will go towards language courses through the Taal in de Buurt project with lessons in different neighbourhoods, as well as courses for welfare recipients and European migrant workers.

Source: The Municipality of The Hague

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