IMC Weekend School is a school for supplementary education for children aged ten to fourteen from underprivileged neighborhoods in the bigger cities in the Netherlands. The first weekend school opened in 1998 in Amsterdam Southeast. Presently, there are nine branches, all funded by companies and foundations.
Motivated children are introduced at the weekend school to numerous interesting disciplines in the worlds of sciences, arts and cultural studies. Volunteer experts serve as guest teachers. They provide an overview of their disciplines while working together with the students.
The curriculum, which covers 2,5 years, comprises disciplines such as medicine, law, computer studies, philosophy, poetry, mathematics, astronomy and visual arts. In 2,5 years, the students attend approximately fifteen weekend school disciplines each comprising four Sundays on average. In addition, there are courses such as presentation, research information and debate, and the participants are encouraged to organize guest lectures themselves on topics of their own interest.
Objectives of the weekend school are to help children from under resourced neighborhoods to improve their perspectives, to acquire self-confidence and to acquire a sense of connectedness to Dutch society.
Founders – IMC Weekend School was designed by psychologist Heleen Terwijn and founded in collaboration with IMC (International Market makers Combination).
Funding – Companies and foundations finance all nine Weekend Schools, the research group and alumni activities. There is no governmental money involved. Main sponsors are IMC (market maker), Essent (energy provider), the Rabobank, IBM the Netherlands, the Dutch Postcode Lottery and numerous other companies and foundations.
Research – IMC Weekend School has a research unit where the target groups, methods and working factors are studied. One of the researches is a three-year longitudinal study into the effects on the participants.
Future for Life Insitute - After 2.5 years, weekend school participants receive the highly valued weekend school certificate. This diploma is the entrance ticket to the Future for Life Institute for alumni aged 14-18. Part of the FFL is help by establishing hard to find apprenticeships.
Sponsor and guest teacher network – Each year, one weekend school welcomes over 200 guest teachers (times nine schools). Sponsors and guest teachers infrequently exchange experiences and play a vital role in the continuation of the weekend schools.
Alumni network – Currently, the oldest IMC Weekend School alumni are 23 years of age. They return to the weekend schools to teach the younger generations, and there is a board of alumni advisors. The alumni network will increase significantly over the coming years and will become more and more important for the weekend school practices.
Recognition – In 2009 IMC Weekend School was awarded winner at the Marketplace of Ideas of the United Nations, Alliance of Civilizations.
Also see IMC Weekend School documentary.