International Education in The Netherlands (Internationaal Georiënteerd Onderwijs, or IGO) is education in English within the Dutch educational programme, intended for specific ‘international’ target groups.
First and foremost, International Education aims to meet the needs and wishes of the Dutch and international business communities and their employees, and to provide fitting education for children with a Dutch or foreign nationality, who, after a stay in The Netherlands, will leave the country again and will then attend English language education. International Education is also meant for children who have settled permanently or temporarily in The Netherlands after a stay abroad.
The principle aim is to provide these children with such education that they are prepared optimally for either the transition to English language education abroad or a possible transition to full Dutch education. An additional aim is to provide them with adequate knowledge of the Dutch language to enable them (either temporarily or permanently) to participate in Dutch society.
Parents of the pupils of the International departments come from all walks of life; but most of them come from the business community, the diplomatic service, or are connected with scientific institutions.
International Education in The Netherlands is offered in special departments affiliated to regular Dutch schools for Primary Education and Secondary Education.
These departments are separately funded by the government. The school present themselves as the Dutch International Primary/Secondary Schools.
As far as Secondary Education is concerned, International Education provides the opportunity for students to attain internationally recognised qualifications. Thus, this type of education is not synonymous with ‘bilingual education’. English in International departments is mainly the language of instruction. The use of English is not an aim in itself (as it is in bilingual education), but rather the means of educating specific groups for internationally recognised qualifications.