Education minister Jet Bussemaker has earmarked an extra €87m over three years to be spent on reducing inequality in education.
The aim is to ensure pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds get the same opportunities as their better-off peers, the minister said at the weekend.
Earlier this year, government inspectors published a report which said there is an ‘unacceptable’ inequality in Dutch secondary schools and the children of well-educated parents are scoring better in final exams than children of equal intelligence from more disadvantaged backgrounds.
While education in the Netherlands is varied and generally of high quality, not all pupils are able to benefit equally, the inspectors said. For example, well-educated parents are more involved in the choice of school and invest money in tutors, homework classes and training in exam techniques.
Their children are also more likely to be labelled dyslexic or has having adhd, which also entitles them to extra teaching time, the inspectors said.
Some of the extra cash will be spend on special programmes to help children who have little help at home prepare for pre-college Havo and VWO secondary schools. Money will also be spent on involving parents more in their children’s education, including help with the Dutch language.
In addition €1m a year will be devoted to a buddy programme, coupling university students with children who come from families where higher education is not the norm so they can be encouraged to apply.