Saturday 06 June 2020

Cabinet spends extra €500m to cushion corona blows to education

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The cabinet is setting aside an extra €500m to compensate students financially for delays they have experienced because of coronavirus crisis and to enable schools to offer summer school courses, the education ministry has announced.

Despite extensive online learning programmes, many students have been missing out on practical training and residencies – particularly medical and vocational students. The ministry said that this means they will have to repeat part of their courses.

All students who have to enrol for next year’s course at an mbo or hbo college or university and will graduate between September 2020 and January 2021 are eligible for a rebate of three months of enrolment fees and tuition fees.

The amounts range between €150 and €300 for students in vocational education to €535 for university students.

Students whose right to basic grants or additional grants expires in July, August or September will also be given a one-off amount depending on their type of grant, the ministry said. The whole package will cost €200m.

A further €244m will be spent on measures supporting primary and secondary schools to help children who have fallen behind. It was estimated that in Amsterdam alone some 5,500 families of primary school age had no computers and were missing out on online home-schooling classes.

The money will be made available to the schools to organise summer schools during the holidays of 2020 and 2021.

Some €30m will go to companies offering learning-on-the-job programmes to vocational students, as an advance on subsidies they receive for training students, and as an encouragement to continue these programmes.

The ministry said newcomers to the country had also been having a difficult time because they did not yet have sufficient Dutch to be able to access the online learning. A total of €21 million has been set aside for schemes to help this group make up for lost time.

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