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Islam Party wants crisis manager for Islamic College

4 December 2006 – Arif Potmis of the Islam Democrats says that a crisis manager should be appointed to solve the problems at the Islam College Amsterdam (ICA). “I am infuriated. The messing about must stop”. Islamic schools’ organisation ISBO suggests that the board should resign.

The ICA became headline news when the Schools Inspectorate and Trouw newspaper expressed devastating criticism of the school’s quality. The Christian-Democrats (CDA) want the government to intervene and to withdraw funding if necessary.

Both Potmis and Rasit Bal, Director of the Islamic School Boards’ Organisation (ISBO) say they understand the CDA’s response. They find that the problems at the ICA damage the image of Islamic schools and of denominational education in general.

Headmaster Piet Guijt of the ICA says in today’s Parool that the school is facing start-up problems, but that these are being dealt with. “I expect that improvements will get us out of the danger zone”.

Potmis finds this nonsense. “The school started years ago, you cannot speak of start-up problems anymore. The board has shown its own incompetence. A crisis manager must be appointed to deal with the problems”.

Bal too finds that the board must take responsibility. Asked whether he means that it should step down, he says: “We cannot rule out that option. In the end, this is not about the board members, but about the school children and the parents”.

To prevent similar problems in the future, Potmis wants the government to assess the quality of proposals for new schools more critically. For example, a quality certificate could be demanded. Bal disagrees; he finds that it is up to the parents to judge the quality of schools.

At last November’s Parliamentary elections, Potmis headed the list of the Islam Democrats. The party did not make it into Parliament, but it does have one seat on the city council of The Hague.


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