The Netherlands: Huge Teachers’ Demonstration Against Cutbacks
Almost 50,000 teachers and education support staff in The Netherlands showed their anger today over plans by the Dutch government to cut the country’s special education budget by €300 million. The measure would increase class sizes and may cause some 3,000 teachers and support staff to lose their jobs by the end of this school year.
In a fully packed football stadium in Amsterdam, Walter Dresscher, President of AOb, said that this austerity measure was a bad plan and entirely unnecessary. “It will affect the most vulnerable children in our school system and that is not acceptable”. Michel Rog, President of CNV Onderwijs, called on the Dutch parliament to reject the government’s proposals without further delay. Both unions are also angry that the €300 milllion taken away from the special education sector, may be used to finance experiments with performance pay. “Apart from the education minister, there is no teacher in this country asking for extra bonuses. What we want is to teach our children properly and give them the extra attention they need”, according to one of the participants.
The one day teachers’ strike was one of the largest ever organized in the Netherlands. 1,700 schools closed their doors. In a message to AOb and CNV, Education International noted that, while teachers in The Netherlands are performing well above average, the Dutch Government scores badly when it comes to education funding by remaining below the average for education spending in the OECD countries.