Dutch primary schools are to be given an extra week to test the skills of pupils about to go on to secondary school to avoid clashing with the Carnaval festivities.
Schools will now have three weeks rather than two to carry out the tests, which had been planned for the first two weeks in February. School carnival events will take place this year in the week beginning February 11.
Schools and politicians in the south of the country had urged the education minister to be flexible because of the importance of Carnaval to the school calendar.
“As someone who was born in Brabant, I understand very well that children want to enjoy Carnaval,” schools minister Mariëlle Paul said. “It is part of their identity.”
Testing in the final year of primary school has taken place in May for the past few years, and children’s choice of secondary school was dependent on teacher’ recommendation only.
However, the government is now bringing forward the test so the results can once again have a role in determining whether a 12-year-old will go on to pre-university (vwo), pre college (havo) or vocational education (vmbo).
Tests in arithmetic and Dutch are compulsory, but schools are free to decide if they want to test their pupils in other subjects, such as geography, as well.
The new dates during which schools must test children in their last year of primary school have now been extended from January 29 to February 18 and the written tests will go ahead on February 6 and 7 as planned.
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