Minister makes lesson target more flexible

Schools are to be given more flexibility about how they fill in 40 of the 1,040 compulsory hours of lessons for secondary school pupils, according to Sjoerd Slagter, chairman of the education council VO-Raad.

The move, agreed on Sunday evening, is a ‘considerable lightening of the load on both schools and pupils,’ Slagter said.
In addition, schools are to be given more money to replace sick teachers. Absenteeism is the main reason why schools often don’t meet the 1,040 hour target.
According to the schools inspectorate, only one in 15 schools actually give pupils enough teaching time. The education minister plans to fine schools which don’t make the grade.
Slagter said the increased flexibility meant today’s planned protest walk-out by pupils could now be called off.
On Friday, some 20 people were arrested in spontaneous walk-outs by pupils round the country. Dwars, the youth wing of the GroenLinks party, has called for more action on Monday.
But school pupils union Laks has called on children to go to school as normal pending the outcome of Wednesday’s parliamentary debate.
The 40 hour concession is ‘very positive’ but ‘not nearly enough’, said chairman Sywert van Lienden. Laks plans to organise a demonstration in The Hague if its demands for a further reduction in hours are not met.

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