Tuesday 19 November 2019

No more money for schools, education minister tells striking teachers

Over 4,000 schools were closed. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Teachers will continue to strike until the government comes up with a structural increase in funding to pay for more staff and to boost salaries, a spokesman for the Aob teaching union said on Wednesday.

‘This cabinet has to invest in education on a structural basis so that we can start work on reducing the pressure on teachers,’ Kim van Strien is quoted as saying by broadcaster NOS.

Some 4,300 secondary and primary schools were closed on Wednesday as teachers took their campaign to the streets. There were demonstrations in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Leeuwarden, Enschede and Eindhoven, while in The Hague protestors were able to watch the parliamentary debate on big screens.

However, education minister Arie Slob said that he does not intend to release any more money for schools. Slob told MPs before Wednesday’s debate on the education ministry budget that he understood that teachers are finding things tough.

‘That is why we have put these new proposals to parliament, which includes structural measures,’ he said. On Friday the government said it would allocate an extra €460m to schools, but only €363m of that is actually new money.

‘We are being given a very expensive present but it will do nothing to solve the biggest problem facing education: we will not get more pay or more teachers,’ Jan van de Ven, of campaign group PO in Actie told the NRC.

Because most of the money is not structural, schools will use it to buy new computers or sinks for the washrooms, he said. ‘The money will disappear into a black hole and then the minister is going to ask what was done with it.’

Campaign groups argue that only a structural increase in funding will allow schools to permanently increase pay and take on more teachers.

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