Education ministers Ingrid van Engelshoven and Arie Slob today announced a recovery plan to eliminate the backlog in education.
Education ministers Ingrid van Engelshoven and Arie Slob today announced a recovery plan to eliminate the backlog in education.

Picture: National government

A recovery plan of 8,5 billion to get rid of corona backlogs

A 2,5-year recovery plan for education as a whole should ensure that the backlogs that students and pupils have incurred due to the corona crisis disappear. Education ministers Slob and Van Engelshoven just announced that they will invest 8,5 billion euros. “Pupils should be able to complete their school career as they would in non-corona time,” said Minister Slob.

While a press conference made the ministers their bulky plan for education, which involves a total of 8,5 billion euros. The largest part, of 5,8 billion euros, is intended for primary education. According to Minister Slob, this means that an average primary school will receive about 180 euros extra next school year. In secondary schools, this amounts to 1,3 million euros per school. The remainder of the amount, 2,7 billion euros, will go to MBO and higher education.

Own plans

Although the ministers plan it 'National Education Program', it is mainly up to schools themselves. For example, Slob said that the primary and secondary schools themselves must come up with plans to make up for the backlog. He doesn't want to lay a blueprint on schools to do that one way. School boards are required to analyze the backlog before the summer holidays and receive funding from the ministry if they submit a well-founded plan. "Without a plan, they will not receive any money," said Slob.

There is money for weekend and summer schools, tutoring for all students, extra teachers and support in the classroom

The analysis of pupils and their disadvantages is a starting point for taking measures in the two following school years to eliminate them and limit the damage caused by missed lessons. Schools receive extra money for this. In his Letter to Parliament Slob refers to 'proven effective interventions' that schools can use to help their students get back on track, such as weekend and summer schools, offering tutoring for all students, additional teachers and support in the classroom.

In the plan, the ministry is providing financial incentives for schools to set up broad bridging classes, so that the selection moment is postponed. Especially because primary schools are asked to allow students to try a higher school level when in doubt.

MBO and higher education

MBO institutions, colleges and universities can also look forward to extra money to limit the corona damage. In addition to the 2,7 billion euros, 645 million euros of structural funding will be allocated to schools and institutions to be able to appoint additional teachers. According to Van Engelshoven, this is necessary because fewer students are taking a gap year due to corona, and the intake figures are therefore increasing. As a result, the workload is increasing for the teaching staff. That's why the AOb urged the ministry to increase funding. In addition, it is increasing subsidies for practical training jobs and companies in MBO.

'It is a solid investment in the future of millions of pupils, students and education professionals'

Students themselves will receive a 50 percent discount on their tuition fees and there will be more money for mental support for students. The minister gives students more freedom because they can make use of their public transport right for twelve months longer if they need longer to obtain their diploma and there is more attention for their mental health. For example, institutions and schools receive money to appoint more deans and study career counselors. The student organization LSVb responded delighted.

Young scientists

Van Engelshoven also offers young scientists perspective: 20 employment contracts of this group will be extended. “This gives them the certainty to complete their research and teach,” says Van Engelshoven. Earlier, the AOb already on for attention to have for the young scientists.

AObchairman Eugenie Stolk responds positively to the investments of the cabinet. “This is, of course, serious money. It is good that part, the 645 million euros, is also structural for MBO and higher education to accommodate the higher student numbers. The union has made a case for this. We are also pleased that the education staff will have a say through the participation councils on how the money will be spent. We do hope, however, that the next cabinet will make all resources structural. ”

Perspective

Both ministers hope that the plan offers prospects for further development and improvement of education. "It is a solid investment in the future of millions of pupils, students and education professionals," said the minister. 'However much the corona crisis has wreaked havoc on education, it has also shown the resilience, improvisation and innovative capacity of the sector and of the people who work and attend education there.'

Update: The AOb together with other employee organizations, sent a letter to the House of Representatives on 24 February calling for a structural investment of 580 million euros to close the pay gap in primary and secondary education. The organizations also want the cabinet to invest to reduce the workload in schools. The organizations think of smaller classes, extra hands in the group and a reduction in the teaching task. With the letter, the organizations want to make it clear that there are major concerns about the quality of education. Read the letter via this link.

More news