Amsterdam primary school teachers are to be given an annual bonus of €1,000, and an extra €1,500 on top if they opt for a job in a school in a disadvantaged neighbourhood, in an effort to stop more teachers from leaving.
The measure is part of a four-year package aimed at combating the shortage of teachers in the four big cities and Almerem which was announced by the education ministry on Tuesday in response to emergency plans drawn up by schools themselves. The total package is worth some €116m.
Rotterdam and The Hague will be spending the money to employ more support staff while Utrecht is looking to investing more in teachers who are just starting out. Almere schools have said they will be combining the two.
Amsterdam opted for the bonus because it has seen a sharp rise in the number of primary school teachers leaving the city – from 134 in 2016 to 254 in 2019. The pressures of work and a lack of affordable housing are the most pressing problems faced by teachers.
‘We are prioritising the big cities because they have the worst problems. But we will continue with our structural approach, for example by lightening teachers’ workload and strengthening the numbers of people from other fields who want to enter education,’ education minister Arie Slob said. Slob has already earmarked €9 million to train ‘outsiders’ for the next four years.
Teachers have gone on strike repeatedly for better pay and conditions but the minister said at the time that the demand for more structural cash will ‘have to be dealt with by the next cabinet.’
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