Primary schools closed nationwide as teachers strike for more pay, less pressure

Bomb threats at international schools confirmed as false alarm

Primary schools across the Netherlands are closed on Tuesday as tens of thousands of teachers go on strike for more pay and improved working conditions. It is the second nationwide one-day strike by teachers in 2.5 months. Unlike during October's strike, no major rallies have been planned in support of teachers' demands. Campaigners are calling for €1.4bn in extra spending – €900m to boost teachers’ pay and €500m to reduce their workload. In total, some 7,000 schools are likely to be affected by the all-day strike. Research published by Trouw in October shows that many teachers who have left the profession are prepared to return, if salaries are improved and the workload is cut. An estimated 31,000 people have a primary school teaching certificate (pabo) but have left the education system. But two thirds of 561 people in the survey said they would be certain, or likely, to return to teaching if working conditions and pay improved. Teaching union Abo said most of the 60,000 teachers in the primary school sector will be on strike.  More >

Rural school pupils perform best

Bomb threats at international schools confirmed as false alarm Primary schools in rural areas score better than city schools in the tests which most Dutch children take in their last year of primary school, according to research by RTL Nieuws. RTL's researchers studied schools' results to compare performances based on a national average score of 7. The results were also adjusted to take the background of children into account. The researchers found that the country's 890 inner city schools scored an average of 6.93 while the 1,511 schools in the most rural areas scored 7.05. The worst big city performance was turned in by Utrecht, with a score of 6.77. Amsterdam was on 6.79, while The Hague hit the national average of 7. Rotterdam did better, with an average score of 7.14. The scores also show that Islamic and orthodox Protestant schools scored best among the religious institutions, with scores of 7.29 and 7.19 respectively.   More >

Primary school teachers strike next week

Bomb threats at international schools confirmed as false alarm Primary school teachers in the Netherlands are to hold a second one-day strike on December 12 in support of their demand for extra money for education. The teachers say the government needs to inject €1.4bn in primary education - €900m to boost pay and €500m to improve working conditions and reduce the pressure on teachers. Face to face talks earlier this week between teachers and education minister Arie Slob - who has earmarked €750m extra for primary schools - failed to produce results. 'On December 12, primary schools and special education schools will be closed nationwide all day,' the collective PO-Front said. The previous one-day strike on October 5 led to most schools closing. In addition, 30,000 teachers went to The Hague for a demonstration close to parliament. No mass demonstration is being planned this time round.  More >

Healthcare, IT, education offer job ops

Bomb threats at international schools confirmed as false alarm Employers in the Netherlands will have a hard time filling vacancies in healthcare, IT, technology and teaching over the next few years, according to a new report on the Dutch labour market by researchers at Maastricht University. The report ‘De arbeidsmarkt naar opleiding en beroep tot 2022’ says job prospects in particular are good for youngsters with a healthcare or technical degree at all educational levels up to 2022. The university's Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market publishes a report on jobs market prospects every two years, based on forecasts by the national statistics office CBS and the government's CPB think-tank. The new report says there will be shortage across most of the IT and communications technology sector, as well as a lack of architects, engineers and electricians. In education, the primary school sector will be badly hit, as not enough trainees are being recruited to replace the expected wave in retirement over the next few years. 'We need a campaign to enthuse youngsters about working with technology, in healthcare and education,' research leader Didier Fourage told Radio 1 news. 'They need to be informed about the good prospects on offer. That is the way to encourage them.'  More >

Students upset with Escobar name

TU Delft international students upset over Escobar café name   A new coffee bar on the campus of TU Delft has sparked an outcry from international students due to its name. The café is called Escobar, which is the same name as an infamous drugs criminal. It opened in August, is situated in a new student housing building and serves Colombian coffee. Pablo Escobar was a Colombian drug lord who founded the so-called Medellín drug cartel, active in South and North America during the 1970s and 1980s. At the height of its power, it is thought to have supplied 80% of cocaine imported to the United States. Escobar's activities were linked to thousands of murders, and he and his cartel featured in the Netflix series, Narcos. Now, the Latin American Student Association of Delft (Latitud) has sent a formal complaint to the university about the name. It isn't only the name that has caused concern. The coffee bar has emphasized that it is selling Colombian coffee, offers a stamp card called a 'shots card' and used imagery, including a map of its location, which students believe is similar to imagery from Narcos. Complaints about the company date back to January this year, including comments on the company's public Facebook page criticising the use of the name for 'normalizing violence', 'glorifying a murderer' and causing offense. It currently has more one-star reviews than any other rating. According to TU Delft spokesperson Karen Collet, TU Delft is also unhappy with the name. However, the business is run by a private company and the space where the coffee bar is located is not owned by the university. "We take these complaints very seriously. We've been in contact with the entrepreneur regarding the name." As a result of an initial discussion with TU Delft, Escobar removed "TU Delft" from the signage on the building. Escobar declined to comment for this story, saying that they had already spoken to the media.    More >