Sunday 05 July 2020

Teachers strike, but there is no more money, education minister says

Thousands of primary and secondary school teachers are going on strike on Thursday and Friday as their campaign to get the government to put more structural money into education continues.

Research by broadcaster NOS shows that at least one teacher will stop work at 90% of the country’s schools while according to website Nu.nl, nearly 4,000 primary schools and 180 secondary schools will be shut on one or both days.

But education minister Arie Slob has told the Telegraaf in an interview that while he shares the teachers’ concerns, the cabinet will not make any more money available to reduce the pressure of work and tackle the shortage of teaching staff.

The nationwide strike is the fourth by teachers in this current campaign. In November, over 4,000 primary, secondary and special schools were closed.

The government said at the end of last year it would allocate an extra €460m for schools, but only €363m of that is actually new money.

And according to research by the Aob teaching union, four in 10 schools now have no replacement staff should teachers fall ill. One in five primary schools and one in four secondary schools also have unfilled vacancies.

Slob told the Telegraaf that the cabinet has pumped lots of extra money into education, and has improved the salaries of primary school teachers. Efforts are also being made to encourage people to switch careers, and more people are signing up to teacher training colleges, he said.

However, the demand for more structural cash will ‘have to be dealt with by the next cabinet,’ Slob said.

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