Stichting Internationaal Onderwijs : Aims  and Objectives          for the Dutch version, click here

Short historical overview

The Stichting Internationaal Onderwijs (SIO, the Foundation for International Education) was founded in 1953 on initiative of the municipality of The Hague with the aim to establish a combined school together with a Dutch school and several existing international schools.

For various subsequent reasons this effort was not successful. However, the Foundation did continue to offer information about international education, which still remained concentrated largely in The Hague until the late seventies.

In 1983 the Government decided to fund three international departments of Dutch schools,in The Hague, Hilversum and Eindhoven respectively. At the end of the eighties this course kept on going strong.
As of that time SIO began to play a role at a national level with the aim to further
international education in our country. The accrued capital was spend on stimulating
measures on behalf of the increasing number of schools that started to offer international
primary and secondary education.

A brochure was published with information about the schools. This was reprinted three times before the information was presented on the internet ( for the first time in 1998.

Expansion of the field of attention

The further increase in the number of international departments of Dutch schools gave cause to expand the field of attention. Next to international primary and secondary education SIO now also targets mbo-schools (senior secondary vocational education), that offer their education in English, in our country. In consultation with the responsible organisations and institutes internationalising Dutch education is given attention as well.


SIO currently fulfils the following tasks:
– provision of information about international education in the Netherlands;
– advising of authorities, the business world and other relevant parties;
– contact with the work field and organisations that are service oriented;
– organising of conferences on topics of interest to the work field;
– support, materially and immaterially, for the benefit of innovation of education.

The main interlocutors are the consultative bodies of the international departments connected to Dutch schools: the Dutch International Primary Schools (DIPS) en the Dutch International Secondary Schools (DISS). DIPS and DISS have recently chosen to form an association.
The private international schools established in the Netherlands have joint them as well.
Next to that, we have a good contact with the IB Global Centre The Hague en IVS Alliance, the collaboration between approximately ten Dutch mbo-schools with an English BTEC-programme. On top of that there are regular consultations with official representatives of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Plans and projects for the period of 2016-2020

In consultation with key figures of the organisations and institutes mentioned above, a policy has been proposed for the coming years with the following ambitions:

*In addition to the “State of Education” published by the Educational Inspectorate, SIO will publish a similar, periodical: “State of International Education”. SIO will work on the preparations with the relevant parties from the work field.

*SIO will organise annual or biennial conferences for the benefit of international education in the Netherlands. The themes would be alternating with a binding character and, if the theme is appropriate, internationalising Dutch schools could be invited as well;

*SIO attaches great importance to the availability of “passend onderwijs” for pupils with specific or individual educational needs. When international schools cannot fully provide this, regional/local cooperation with Dutch schools with respect to finance and content is an option that needs to be fulfilled. An example of such an approach is the implementation of the Career Related Programme of the International Baccalaureate Office. Cooperation between the international schools and ROC’s is necessary for this. Furthermore SIO is prepared to contribute to the filling of voids that still exist in the educational offer of international schools;

*SIO closely follows the government policy concerning internationaal education and pays special attention to the parliamentary deliberations about the budget of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the reports of the Educational Inspectorate. SIO presses for the easing of state regulations where this is necessary, so that useful experimental situations can be established and to take away the barriers for entry of international students and teachers. In this respect SIO is an advocate of examining MBO- students conform the BTEC-model and giving them exemption of the obligation to take the exam in Dutch language. Last but not least SIO argues for inspectoral supervision on the quality of English lessons in Dutch primary education;

* SIO promotes international adult education with which students who have failed their exam
could still obtain their IB/EB through the already existing possibility of modular certificates.
It could be investigated whether this can be realised through an open education circuit;
This kind of education is also important for newcomers from different countries with fluency in the English language. That way they could start working for the many international companies established in our country as quickly as possible;

* SIO strives for the regulation that final year pupils of VWO can chose Cambridge English
instead of the examination subject English, will be extended with the possibility to chose
IB-Engels. This with concern to the equivalent level of the IB exam English;

* SIO will develop initiatives that contribute to the positioning of international education as
part of a regional establishment policy. This could for instance concern consultation with
local/regional authorities when there are waiting lists as a result of not enough classrooms;