PR firm offers sponsored lessons to schools

Communications bureau Remedica is offering sponsored lessons to schools on subjects such as ‘puberty and hygiene’ and ‘healthy eating and the role of functional dairy products’, the Telegraaf reports on Wednesday.

The lessons, designed to help schools meet targets on teaching hours, are sponsored by companies such as Yakult and Unilever, the paper says.
On its website Remedica claims it can provide 3,500 hours of teaching a year and send pupils home with a ‘goodie bag’ of products to try.
The Trevianum school group in Sittard has used free lessons from Remedica as part of it biology course for first and second year pupils.
‘These lessons are not supposed to be used to advertise… I will now evalute the lessons with the biology teacher and decide if we should continue to work with Remedica,’ the school’s head teacher told the paper.
A spokeswoman for Unilever told the Telegraaf its deodorants Axe and Rexona were shown during a lesson about hygiene and perspiration. ‘It is a way of approaching our target group, but it happens in an educative way,’ said Fleur van Bruggen.
Van Bruggen said Unilever was not aware of the educational covenant which states that lessons should be objective and said the company’s legal team would investigate.
A spokesman for dairy drink Yakult said the company was ending its alliance with Remedica. ‘Our product was not shown. We are aware of the covenant,’ he told the Telegraaf.
Socialist party MP Jasper van Dijk told the paper sponsored lessons could not be objective. ‘Pupils are being connected to a brand during school hours. This is unacceptable,’ he said.
Van Dijk has asked education minister Ronald Plasterk for an explanation.

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