Saturday 17 August 2019

Tens of thousands of teachers demonstrate in The Hague

Photo: Marcel Krijgsman / Hollandse Hoogte

Between 35,000 and 40,000 teachers and lecturers gathered in the centre of The Hague on Friday as teachers went on strike for more pay and better working conditions.

The strike, organised by teaching unions Aob and FNV Onderwijs, lead to the closure of hundreds of schools around the country. According to one survey, 2,600 primary schools were shut.

Teachers have been campaigning for improvements since 2017 but primary schools have, until now, been at the forefront. Today’s campaign involved all sections of the education sector.

In total, teachers are asking the government to increase spending on education by €4bn, of which €3bn would go on primary and secondary education and the rest on  colleges and universities.

Strikers

‘I am protesting against the under-funding of academic education,’ former university lecturer turned secondary school teacher Gijs van Donselaar told the NRC.

‘We’ve had to shorten modules, reduce the number of hours and that means less in depth teaching,’ he said.

Elsewhere on the Malieveld, primary school teacher  Maaike van der Zee told the paper: ‘Last Wednesday I had kids from group 8 in my nursery class,’ she said. ‘I had to explain money sums to them. Both they and my four-year-olds got half a lesson.’

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