Lack of enthusiasm delays community service for school kids plan

So few secondary school pupils are interested in taking part in the government’s voluntary ‘youth community service’ scheme that the implementation is being postponed by at lease six months, the Telegraaf reported on Thursday.

The scheme to encourage pupils to spend several weeks doing socially useful work is part of the government’s coalition agreement and was included at the behest of the two Christian parties – the CDA and ChristenUnie.

But now junior health minister Paul Blokhuis has told parliament that the plan will not be fully implemented until next year while action is taken to encourage more youngsters to take part. This summer there will be some small-scale experimenting.

Currently, pupils feel the aim of the programme is too unclear and that it will eat into time for school work and exam preparation, he told MPs in a briefing. Some also fail to see the point of the exercise, he said.


Those who take part in the scheme will get priority in government jobs after they have left school and Blokhuis says he wants to make similar agreements with private sector employers, the Telegraaf reported.

The cabinet has set aside €25m to fund the project which now will start in the summer of 2019.

Students union ISO is strongly opposed to the project. ‘It gives the impression that teenagers are lazy and not involved in society,’ chairman Rhea der Dong told website  ‘But half of them already doing some sort of voluntary work.’

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