54,000 sign petition for fewer lessons

The school pupils’ union LAKS is to hand over a petition with 54,000 signatures calling for a reduction in lesson hours to the parliamentary education committee on Wednesday, reports ANP news service.

The action coincides with a parliamentary debate on Wednesday night which will discuss the 1,040 hours of compulsory teaching which the government wants to enforce at secondary schools.
The issue has led to widespread demonstrations by thousands of pupils across the country and the arrest of 250 schoolchildren since last Friday. A decision on whether a major protest planned in The Hague for Friday this week will go ahead or not will depend on the outcome of tonight’s parliamentary debate.
The 54,000 signatures is double the number on a similar petition a week ago. ‘Schoolchildren have made sure the number of signatures is double, let junior education secretary Marja van Bijsterveldt and parliament make sure there is a doubling of the announced reduction in the 1,040 hour teaching norm,’ said LAKS chairman Sywert van Lienden, referring to the concession made earlier this week which will allow schools to fill in 40 hours of the obligatory 1,040 teaching hours themselves.
LAKS hopes that MPs will accept that the quality of teaching is more important than the quantity of lesson hours, says Van Lienden.
Meanwhile, the organisation responsible for truancy, Ingrado, has told the media that schools that allow their pupils to attend protest meetings will be punished.
And the education department of Rotterdam council has sent a letter to all the city’s secondary school pupils warning them that they could face a fine of up to €2,000 if they take part in spontaneous or wildcat strikes.

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