Thursday 20 January 2022

Schools warned about impact of commercial tutors on equality

The Dutch schools council Onderwijsraad has sounded the alarm about the increasing impact of commercial tutors in secondary school education and says that using such services is increasing inequality of opportunity.

Schools should think more about ‘what is necessary’ and offer such services free to everyone, the council said in a new report.

The government, the council said, should make sure schools have enough money to offer quality teaching, so they do not have to rely on bringing in tutoring services and specialist exam training.

In addition, the council says advertising material supplied by private tutors should be banned from school property and correspondence with parents.

Some two-thirds of secondary schools offer homework classes and around half tutoring and exam training. Parents pay considerable sums of money for the extra lessons which, the council says, are threatening the public nature of the Dutch school system.

‘The private sector has been able to grow unhampered because the government is not intervening,’ the council said. ‘School chiefs are also giving private firms space to operate, without really thinking of the consequences.’

Coronavirus

In June, the government’s SER advisory board published a report showing that the Dutch educational system is increasing inequality of opportunity between children and coronavirus has only made the situation worse.

SER, which is made up of union, employer and lay members, said that children from more disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to have a ‘stimulating and facilitating home environment’ and that they have been harder hit by school closures during the pandemic.

The report called on the government to do more to improve the quality of education by tackling the shortage of teachers, big class sizes and the downturn in language and arithmetic skills.

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