TLU BY THE CMO – Dutch Centre for Global Education

* Refugees & Asylum Seekers


The teachers involved are Niels Paauw and his collegue Marko Kok from Maaswaal College, Mieke Oosterwijk from Montessori College, Renda Wolthuis from Koningin Wilhelmina College, Karin Peusens from Overbetuwe College and Hans van Gisbergen from Lyceum Elst.

Neils Paauw quoted:  “The TLUs are very strong in the removal of knowledge gaps especially on refugee issues, the removal of negative images and tracking down misconceptions (like the everyday language in the mixed up terms: foreigners, migrants, illegal residents, asylum seekers and refugees).”

A student of Maaswaal College said that the first small film in the TLU Refugees & Asylum Seekers was an eye-opener (“Here is an announcement that you may find shocking. You are not as Dutch as you may think you are, you have foreign blood running through your veins.”

Paauw also noted that the TLUs use professional external sources in a clever way (especially the camp Refugee Republic of the Volkskrant), incorporated in the own educational website of CMO.

In the process of building and testing of the TLUs the final product was for teachers more and more clear. Mieke Oosterwijk quotes: “From introduction to closing: to be used directly and logically.” Another said: “I liked it that I could browse the material, background information, stories, films etc. for my own lessons and assignments.”  Paauw said: “The imagery is diverse (films, photo’s, here and there a statistic) and on its own (regardless of the context of the assignment) also informative and useful.”

The TLUs were designed in Dutch, but the TLU Refugees & Asylum Seekers is also available in English (  NGOs and teachers in Poland and in Hungary are already using the TLU. Enjoy reading and teaching this material!



ABSTRACT 3: CMO (Netherlands)



Digital TLU: (TLU in English)

Subject: Foreigners, refugees and asylum seekers

Age: Course material for 15/16 year old high school students

Course: Geography

Duration: 2-22 lessons (a free choice out of 11 subjects - 2 hours per subject)




The digital TLU offers a series of courses for groups 3 and 4 for senior general secondary education and pre-university education (to be compared with high schools in the Anglo-Saxon system) concerning the comprehensive subjects ‘Refugees & Asylum Seekers’. The series consists of ten subjects; each of these can be dealt with in two hours ( 2 x 50 minutes), and a conclusion.

The teacher is free to make his or her personal selection of the ten subjects:


  1. Foreigners
  2. Refugees
  3. International conventions and actions
  4. Refugee camps
  5. Asylum policy
  6. Economic refugees
  7. SOS Europe
  8. Unaccompanied Minor Foreigners
  9. Invited refugees
  10. Integration
  11. Foreigners in cartoons


In the eleventh and final lesson the pupils will look back at the 10 lessons on refugees based on thirty cartoons. In these cartoons all kinds of aspects of the refugee problems will be shown.


The digital  TLU ‘Refugees & Asylum Seekers’ starts with the concept of who is a ‘foreigner’?

An foreigner is someone who is staying in the Netherlands and does not have a Dutch passport.

Usually the presence of foreigners is seen as problematic. In daily conversation the terms foreigners, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and illegal residents are often mixed up, and this is not correct. It is high time to clarify this complicated situation.


The material of ‘Refugees & Asylum Seekers’ for students involves an introduction, educational goals and a number of steps (2-7). Every step leads to a creative final project that has to be done with some classmates.


For teachers, there is a teacher’s guide available for each lesson, containing instructions and suggestions, answers to the questions and key objectives/attainment targets. To get access to the teacher’s guide you need to register in the website.



Link to national curriculum


The Netherlands do not have a national curriculum. What the Netherlands do have are core objectives for the schools in secondary education.


The TLU ‘Refugees & Asylum Seekers’ conforms with the core objectives of geography:

  • 36.  The pupil learns to ask meaningful questions about social issues and phenomena, take a substantiated point of view concerning these, defend it, and deal with criticism in a respectful way.
  • 39. The pupil learns to carry out a simple research into a current social phenomenon and give a presentation of the results of it.
  • 43. The pupil learns about agreements, differences and changes in culture and religion in the Netherlands, learns to connect his or her own, as well as someone else’s lifestyle with these, and learns that respect for each other's views and lifestyles will enhance society.
  • 47. The pupil learns to place current tensions and conflicts in the world against their backgrounds and, while doing so, learns to recognise their effects upon individuals and society (nationally, internationally and on a European scale), the tremendous interdependence that exists in the world, the importance of human rights, and the significance of international collaboration.




At the end of the assignments students will know the meaning of the following concepts:


  • African Refugee Convention
  • Article 1F
  • Assimilation
  • Asylum procedure
  • Asylum seeker
  • Asylum Seekers Centre (AZC)
  • Bed-bath-bread arrangement
  • Boat refugee
  • Children's Communal Home
  • Central Reception Location (COL)
  • Central Reception of Asylum seekers (COA)
  • Civic integration course / exam
  • Communal European Asylum Policy
  • Compulsory integration
  • Criminalisation
  • Displaced person
  • Diversity
  • Doctors without Borders
  • Dublin Convention
  • Dublin Regulation
  • Dutch Refugee Council
  • Ecological refugee
  • Economical illegal migrant
  • Economical refugee
  • Education Executive Agency (DUO)
  • Ethnic cleansing
  • European Committee for Social Rights (ECSR
  • Exhausted all legal remedies
  • First Hearing
  • Foreigner
  • Further Hearing
  • Green Card Lottery
  • Human smuggling
  • Illegal resident
  • Immigrant worker
  • Immigration and Naturalization Department (IND)
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • International Transitional Class
  • Integration
  • Invited refugee
  • Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
  • Mare Nostrum
  • Migration route
  • New entrant
  • No fault policy
  • Permanent asylum permit
  • Permanent state of residence
  • Prosecution
  • Recognized refugee
  • Refugee
  • Refugee camp
  • Refugee Convention
  • Registration Centre (AC)
  • Resettlement policy
  • Residence Permit
  • School in a Box
  • Separatism
  • SOS Europe
  • Titron
  • Tourist
  • Refugee
  • Unaccompanied Minor Foreigner
  • Undocumented person
  • Unicef
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHR)
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
  • University Asylum Seekers Foundation (UAF)
  • War Child
  • World Refugee Day


(A selection of the most important) Learning objectives

At the end of this lessons for students:


  • You will know what many children and adults think about when they hear the word ‘foreigner’.
  • You will know the difference between the concepts of refugee, displaced person and asylum seeker.
  • You can give various reasons why people flee from their region and you will know several personal stories of refugees
  • You will know how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has come into existence.
  • You will know the Refugee Convention and you will know which reasons to flee are recognized according to the convention.
  • You will know that most displaced persons and refugees are given shelter in a refugee camp.
  • You will know that an asylum seeker can only apply for asylum in one country within the European Union.
  • You can describe the steps in an asylum procedure.
  • You will know what possibilities an asylum seeker has who has exhausted all legal remedies.
  • Why the term ‘economic refugee’ is not correct, and you will learn a better name for them.
  • You will know why so many ‘economical refugees’ try to move to Europe, and you can mention a number of their motives.
  • You will know why many (boat) refugees strike deals with human smugglers.
  • You can mention the most important migration routes and you will know why there have been shifts in them.
  • You will know why human rights organizations such as Amnesty International are very critical of these EU operations and you will know why Amnesty has started the SOS Europe action.
  • You can mention several similarities and differences about the way adult and minor asylum seekers are treated.
  • You will know which criteria the Netherlands uses for selecting refugees who are invited, and you will know how these criteria have been adapted over the past few years.
  • You will have your own opinion about the integration requirements in the Netherlands.
  • You will know various ways of how you can handle the habits of foreign Dutch people as a recognized refugee: do you adjust or do you hold on to your own habits?
  • Can you explain what we mean with ‘diversity’.
  • Do you have your own opinion about the question ‘When are you integrated well?’
  • You will know that there are many ways to look at the situation that refugees have to deal with.





Geographic methodological competence:

Analysis of pull and push factors on refugees and their wish to come to Europe.


Geographic professional competence:

Comprehension the concept of (asylum) migration and the consequences for the Netherlands.


Geographic orientation skills:

Understanding the impact of flight on the daily lives of refugees and new entrants in the Netherlands.


Geographic question competence:

Posing the question why refugees feel themselves forced to flee and try to find their way in a unknown and uncertain situation like the Netherlands.


Political methodological competence:

Analysis of the official asylum policy of the Netherlands and the European Union, based on UN conventions and declarations.


Political professional competence:

Insight in processes of integration, assimilation, separatism and diversity that lead to mutual understanding between refugees and autotochtonous Dutch citizens.


Political decision-making and responsibility:

Indicating how politicians and autotochtonous Dutch citizens try to influence (changes in) the asylum policy.


Political competence of judgement:

Evaluation of the reasons and consequences of the asylum policy on refugees and on autotochtonous Dutch citizens.




  • Try to imagine what life must be like for an foreigner or indicate when you have ever felt like a foreigner.
  • Imagine, several of your relatives have been arrested at your house. You have to flee. You can only take one suitcase with you with two items:  one material item and one immaterial item. What would be most useful for you?
  • Every year on 20 June we are celebrating World Refugee Day. Write a campaign plan with a group of pupils for an activity on that day. You will go and brainstorm about possible ideas and you will try to realize this activity as well (at school, in your district, village or city)
  • Imagine: you are an asylum seeker and you have exhausted all remedies. Every now and then you can go to a reception centre or a squat in the evening. You will describe your day of 24 hours in your diary and in it, you will indicate your experiences, how you feel and how you see your future.
  • Respond on the statement in a phone-in radio show: ‘The outer borders of Europe have to be closed to economic refugees.’
  • Write a letter to Prime Minister Rutte to do more for boat refugees.
  • You will make a You Tube film report of approximately one minute, in which you will explain how an Unaccompanied Minor Foreigner lives and where he goes to school. You will also talk about how you envision the future in the Netherlands.
  • Imagine, you are a recognized foreigner, a so-called asylum migrant. You and a few of your fellow asylum migrants are going to live in a posh district where up to now only autotochthonous Dutch people have lived. The municipality has organized an introduction evening for the new and current inhabitants of the district. The municipal secretary interviews the new entrants and a few inhabitants of the district who have lived there for years. He/she is also the chairman or chairwoman. In the role play you particularly emphasize one of these new concepts, without mentioning them by name: assimilation, separatism and diversity.






“Critical review of the historical and social disciplines for a formal education suited to the global society”

ABSTRACT 3: CMO (Netherlands)

NB This publication and the pages connected on this website has been produced with the assistance of the European  Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of name of the author/contractor/implementing partner/ international organisation and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.