Public debate on education and employment in Amsterdam

Twenty participants from the New Urban Collective in Amsterdam Bijlmer participated in a debate training and public debate on employment and education on Sunday the 16th of March. The participants from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds learned new debate skills and later grilled candidates for the local elections of March 19th.

IDEA trainer Randall Maarman and Sarita Banjath taught the participants simple tricks to present their ideas and structure their arguments convincingly. They practiced these skills by analysing the motion that the Netherlands provides everyone equal opportunities on the proposition and opposition sides. They then separated into two groups to do practice debates.

The first group discussed whether the primary school exit exam that determines the future school career of children should be abolished. The proponents saw it as a one-off test, CITO, while the opponents argued its objectivity guaranteed protection against dislike from a teacher. The second debate saw the proposition argue that Dutch municipalities should impose diversity quotas on companies to combat inequality and discrimination. The opponents argued that “positive discrimination” is still discrimination and would not help against negative stereotypes.

The debate training was closed off with a town hall meeting in which the participants debated with local candidates for the elections:  Robert Valentine of the Libertarische Partij (Libertarian Party), Robert Coblijn van Bijlmer Style and Simion Blom of GroenLinks (GreenLeft). The candidates discussed their party's proposals to improve local employment opportunities like decreasing regulation for employers, or creating more jobs in the cultural sector and answered to critical questions from the participants.

The training was part of the Inclusion of African Youth in Europe project organised by IDEA NL together with NCDOYouth in Action, a European Commission youth fund and the African Studies Centre. For more information and questions, contact Roeland Hemsteede.