Intercultural Education in Dutch Schools



This article presents and discusses the results of a project on the development of new forms of intercultural education in Dutch schools. On the initiative of the Ministry of Education, culture and science teachers in different sectors of education collaborated in networks to develop examples for “intercultural learning” that are of practical relevance for the daily practice of teachers and move beyond the existing culturalistic practice of intercultural education. The project was evaluated by research. Analysis of the examples developed by the teachers shows an emphasis on intercultural competence as an objective. This fits in well with the growing attention to the development of a broader range of competences after decades of a somewhat imbalanced emphasis on cognitive skills. From this viewpoint there are promising possibilities for the dissemination of intercultural education. In analyzing the content of the formats it is striking that culturalism is replaced by a recognition of individual differences. This has the potential to redefine the dominant perception of the “standard” pupil and cultural standards in curricula and pedagogy. However, from a critical perspective of multiculturality there are serious reservations.