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VU and partners provide language programmes civic integration

4 February 2022
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will provide two language courses for civic integration for the municipality of Amsterdam: the "Education Route" together with the Hogeschool van Amsterdam and the so-called ‘B1 route’ as a partner of language school NLtraining. The Education Route is designed to help new residents successfully integrate into society. The B1 route leads to work and integration with a dual track, in which participants learn the language and work at the same time. With these language routes, VU Amsterdam is intensifying its cooperation with Amsterdam educational institutes and the municipality.

Civic Integration Act
The new Civic Integration Act came into effect on January 1, 2022. As of now, the direction of the civic integration process is in the hands of the municipalities and no longer in the hands of the civic integration participants. The municipality decides which provider will provide education in the Dutch language and any other educational subjects.

Education route: on the road to study
The Education Route - one of the three learning routes provided for in the new Civic Integration Act - enables persons integrating to prepare themselves for a subsequent course of study at secondary vocational education (mbo), universities of applied sciences (hbo) or universities (wo). The participants not only learn Dutch at a high level (B2*), but also English, mathematics and, if necessary, other educational subjects such as physics and chemistry. Moreover, they are guided in choosing a suitable and feasible study.

For this learning route educational institutions in Amsterdam have entered into a cooperation: ‘Taalschakeltraject Amsterdam’ (TSA). The partner of VU Amsterdam is the HvA. ROC van Amsterdam and the Universiteit van Amsterdam are also partners. All parties have already coached many status holders to a successful study start and integration and will jointly set up this learning route in the Amsterdam labour market region. Neighboring municipalities that want to "hitch a ride" are welcome.

B1 route: on the way to work
The legislator wants the level of Dutch for civic integration to be higher to increase the chances on the labor market (B1*-level). NLtraining, one of the largest language schools in the Netherlands, has been awarded the Z and B1 route in Amsterdam, in cooperation with VU Amsterdam and NewBees. VU Amsterdam will provide language training for the fastest learning participants for civic integration, so that they can master the Dutch language for work in the middle and higher segments of the labor market.

Taalschakeltrajecten at VU Amsterdam
Within VU Amsterdam, the new ‘Taalschakeltrajecten’ are housed in the departments VU-NT2 (Dutch as a second language) and VASVU (preparatory year for foreign language students). Both departments have been offering language education and preparatory programmes for quick learning civic integration students for years. The staff is happy and proud with this great assignment from the City of Amsterdam. Wilma Elsing, Programme Director of the Taalschakeltrajecten at VU Amsterdam: "Integration participants who want to study are now really given that opportunity, which is a huge advantage of the new Act. In the past, not everyone who wanted to study had sufficient means to take prepatory courses. There were also large differences in policy between municipalities. We are pleased that these ambitious, particularly young persons will soon have a diploma that will allow them to start an education or study. This gives them better prospects for the future. Everyone deserves this chance. And society also benefits: there is so much talent out there, and it must not go to waste!"

*B1 and B2 are language levels from the European Framework of Reference for Modern Foreign Languages. B1 is needed to follow an MBO course, B2 sometimes to follow an MBO, always to follow an HBO or university course.