Eindhoven puts more effort – and money – in the internationalization of education. This is done primarily at the International School Eindhoven (which plans an expansion to allow further student growth) but also in regular schools. Moreover, plans are being made for international education for pupils with special needs and international vocational education. All this is necessary to remain attractive as a city to the knowledge workers who play an important role in the local economy.
Currently the international school (ISE) at the Oirschotsedijk has two problems: a huge deficit in the operation and a school with no space left for extra children. In both cases, with the help of an advisory board consisting of people from government and industry, a solution is within sight. The total deficit of 12 million euros (for the period until 2043) has already been reduced to 3.6 million, mainly due to developments in the cost of gas and electricity. The municipality has offered to pay half of it, whereas the school tries to address the other half to the companies that support the ISE.
In addition, the school wants to to borrow 2.8 million in order to be able to accelerate the enlargement of the school. Councilman Staff Depla (economic affairs) will ask the City Council to guarantee this as a municipality. “It is an amount which we had agreed upon already but this would only become active in 2023. Now that the school needs to advance the planned expansion because of a higher amount of students, we need to help them.”
Currently, the school is fit for 850 students, but last year there were already more than 900. In order to eliminate the risk of waiting lists, solutions are required in different stages. In the short term there will be some emergency measures (like temporary accommodation, perhaps at the army base at the airport), in 2017 there will be new housing and facilities for 1100 students. And already the board is looking for ways to house 1,500 pupils around 2020.
“Good international education is decisive in the choice of a knowledge worker for our region”
According to Carlo van Kemenade, the COO of DLL who was chairman of the advisory board, the measures are badly needed because the school is an important factor in the success of the regional business. “That is why DLL – like many other companies – already contributes significantly. We see it as our social responsibility, and as a company we also benefit. Make no mistake, the presence of good international education is decisive in the choice of a knowledge worker for a region like ours. And it is more than just an educational function; a school is often the most important connection between a foreign family and the local community. ”
The Advisory Board has proposed to reconsider the 30-year contract with ISE. Van Kemenade: “Due to the rapid growth in the number of students – and that growth will not stop soon – this will make everyone a winner. Our expertise in cases like this at DLL will help solve the case.”
“We want to be the best international school in the Netherlands”
Van Kemenade expects the school to grow to around 1,500 students in 2020. “That is about the maximum that we would want to have in one campus. That way we can have a school that can preserve the existing knowledge workers in this region and attract new ones.” The advisory board is not without ambition: “We want to be the best international school in the Netherlands, which fits perfectly within the position of Brainport in the Dutch economy.”
For the same reason Depla and Van Kemenade would like to get more support from the Dutch state. “Now there is no aid whatsoever, which is strange if you look at the importance of this region for the Dutch economy.” The municipality now focuses – apart from extra money – on experimental status based on a “city deal“-contract.
With such a “city deal” alderman Jannie Visscher is able to create more opportunities to give an extra boost to the internationalization of the regular schools in Eindhoven. “The international school will remain important, but we need to have alternatives, even if the limit of 1,500 students at ISE has not been reached yet. We want to create a better flow between the international school to the regular education, for example at the end of international primary school.”