Hundreds of Dutch primary schools are having to sack teachers ahead of the next school year, forcing class sizes above the accepted maximum of 28 pupils, the AD reports on Monday.
According to the primary schools’ association PO-Raad, 80% of schools are having to make ‘punishing’ cutbacks and class sizes of 33 pupils or more will no longer be the exception.
In particular, short-term teaching contracts are not being renewed and gym, music and remedial teachers are losing their jobs. Current teacher training programmes do not qualify teachers to take gym classes for older pupils.
‘The education ministry wants the Dutch education system to be in the world’s top five – we are now in the top 10 – but that is never going to happen if schools have to cut back so severely,’ PO-Raad spokesman Harm van Gerven told the AD.
Although national government spending on each primary school pupil is actually going up, falling pupil numbers and rising personnel costs are forcing schools to take action, the paper says.
Cuts in local council spending on school swimming and cultural projects has also hit schools. Those outside the big cities are being hardest hit, the AD said.
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