Hundreds of school pupils are gathering in Amsterdam for a demonstration against the government’s determination to stick with 1,040 hours of compulsory education a year.
The demonstration began formally at 12 and is being addressed by a number of politicians and union officials. Education minister Ronald Plasterk has also been invited to speak, NOS tv reported.
Eyewitnesses said there is a heavy police presence.
The CNV union federation and teachers’ union Aob have both come out in support of the pupils, saying concessions made by junior education minister Marja van Bijsterveldt do not go far enough.
‘A broad band of between 960 hours and 1040 hours gives schools the room to offer intensive and quality education,’ a spokesman said.
The union has urged head teachers to allow pupils to attend the demonstration.
Some schools have organised bus trips to take demonstrators to the capital, but others have reportedly banned their pupils from attending.
The Arentheem College in Arnhem is sending 25 pupils from the schools council, the Volkskrant reports. Others who attend will be treated as truants.
Pupils from the Piter Jelles school group in Friesland will be registered as absent but not punished, and the Atlas College in Hoorn has decided to report all unauthorised absences to the truancy officer.
Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen told tv station AT5 on Thursday evening that he has instructed the police to come down hard on trouble-makers.
Demonstrations in various places throughout the country last Friday and on Monday resulted in over 200 arrests for vandalism and public order offences.
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