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Students experience discrimination more often


Pupils and students feel discriminated against more often in recent years, according to new figures from the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau). The rise may partly be due to the increased attention for discrimination, according to the researchers.

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The Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) reports that 15 percent of Dutch pupils and students have to deal with discrimination. This includes bullying, threats, violence, and sexual harassment, but also to teachers who underrate them, or misjudge their level.

The SCP polled the opinion of 8,536 people, including about two thousand ‘education followers'. This concerns students from secondary vocational (MBO), higher professional (HBO) and university education.

The current figure of 15 percent is considerably higher than that in 2013. At that time, 8 percent of pupils and students said they experienced discrimination, for example because of their background, gender or orientation.

The numbers have thus nearly doubled - and this despite the fact that in recent years, a great deal of attention has been paid to social security in education. Is this approach not paying off?

Actually, it can boost each other, explains researcher Iris Andriessen. "The fact that discrimination is discussed more often also ensures that young people are more likely to recognise it and point it out. And that in turn can lead to an increase in the reporting figures".

In other words, it is not certain whether pupils and students are actually discriminated against more often, or whether they simply make themselves heard more often in problematic situations.

"Possibly both these things play a role," says Andriessen. She is positive that discrimination is high on the political agenda. "After all, if you want social change, you have to be able to recognise problems and raise them first.

At the moment, about one in six students and pupils who experience discrimination in education report this. This almost always happens within their educational institution itself.

Internship discrimination
It is striking that university students in particular feel discriminated against when looking for an internship: 23 percent, compared to 8 percent for secondary vocational students and 7 percent for higher professional students.

According to the SCP, this may be due to the fact that internships are more often compulsory for secondary vocational and higher professional students, and therefore more fixed internship placements are offered to them. For university students, looking for an internship is more like a regular application procedure.

There is one thing that should be taken into account: only 88 university students with an internship participated in the research. "A relatively small number," says Andriessen. "If some of them experience discrimination, you get high percentages quite easily."

Dropped out
Between 2 and 3 percent of all pupils and students in the Netherlands indicate that they dropped out of their programme because they were discriminated against. Among lesbian, homosexual and bisexual students this proportion is even higher: 8 percent.

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