AOb demands a 750 euro internship allowance for education students
Trainees in education barely get paid. More than three-quarters of students in educational programs in the Netherlands do not receive any compensation for the internship.
This is evident from one AObFebruary survey, completed by more than 1500 teacher training students. Before their final internship, the students can almost all whistle for some form of financial compensation. Ninety percent indicate that they do not receive a euro for the compulsory internships. More than a third of the students who are working on their graduation internship do not receive any compensation either.
De AOb wants teaching interns to receive an allowance. The union is aiming for a compensation of 750 euros gross per month for 40 hours of internship per week and then pro rata. Collective agreements have already been made for the final internship (lio).
An internship allowance is not mandatory in the Netherlands, but in comparable industries students are paid when they gain their first work experience. Prospective police officers, for example, immediately go into service with the police academy to then collect about 1200 euros gross monthly in the first year of training, up to more than 2500 euros gross in the fourth year.
An HBO nursing student doing an internship at the Amsterdam UMC receives 450 euro 'pocket money' per month in the first year, rising to a gross salary of more than 2100 euro in the final year – there are no national agreements for nursing students.
The Empire has been paying all its trainees an allowance of almost 750 euros per month for a five-day working week since the beginning of this year. And agreements have also been made in the collective labor agreements for youth and disabled care, for example, for internship allowances, for around 400 euros per month.
Credits, not euros
The zero for the majority of teaching trainees contrasts sharply with this. Until last year, Barbara de Kort was chair of the National Consultative Body for Primary Education Teacher Training (Lobo) and worked for more than thirty years for the Marnix Academy, a teacher training college in Utrecht. According to her, internship allowances in education have never become fashionable due to the strict distinction between learning and working that was formulated at the time. “When the teacher training colleges were set up, it was clearly stated: your internship is part of the curriculum, of your learning process. You earn credits with that, not euros.”
"Everyone should get some kind of compensation if you're actually doing 'work tasks'"
De Kort also points to the time it takes to supervise students: “Training schools receive money to pay teachers for the hours they spend on supervision. It is a bit crazy to pay the intern for the same hours.”
But times have changed. “Everyone should get some kind of compensation if you're actually doing 'work tasks'," an intern expressed the general sentiment in the survey. In addition, the teacher shortage of trainees often makes necessary hands in the classroom. The survey shows that half of the trainees who are not yet in the final phase of their training already take lessons from time to time. Almost 20 percent of them are scheduled on a structural basis.
Part-time students in particular – often lateral entrants – run into financial problems due to the lack of decent allowances. And that makes switching to education unattractive. But the regular student is also three times the loser, says Marzena Broniak, teacher in secondary education and consultant for the AOb. “The current generation falls under the loan system, due to corona, income from side jobs was partly lost and their expenses are also higher due to inflation.” Of the students who completed the survey, 70 percent need a part-time job to make ends meet.
"I was blown away when I heard that school boards don't pay their interns."
At the beginning of this year, Broniak attended a meeting in Nijmegen where educational foundations presented themselves to PABO students. “I was blown away when I heard that school boards don't pay their interns. The students who do a final internship also received nothing from some employers.”
She continues: “A driver told me: we can't afford that. But that's nonsense. An internship allowance peanuts on the budget of a school board. And for a lio (teacher in training, ed.) you simply have staff and therefore a budget.” Employers also told Broniak that students don't care about money: "They would only be interested in the school."
But the teacher knows better. The internship allowance is now the most popular topic in the industry AObinformation meetings: “I notice that students are becoming more and more fanatical. One recently said: I'm going to do an internship in Almere, because I'll get paid there.” In the survey, a lio trainee writes: “It is ridiculous that I get zero euros and others in my class 1100 euros.”
'The red carpet must be rolled out for people who want to work in education'
Broniak: “We have to offer this new generation of teachers the best we can offer them. In terms of guidance, of course, but also appropriate compensation.” She finds AObchairman Van Gelder in her camp. “The red carpet has to go out for people who want to work in education. It is absurd and outdated that an internship allowance for students in education is not yet the norm.”
De AOb wants there in the collective labor agreements hard agreements*De AOb wants all teaching interns to receive an allowance. The commitment of the AOb in the collective labor agreement negotiations, a compensation of 750 euros gross per month is granted in primary, secondary and vocational education for 40 hours of internship per week (and then pro rata). This amount applies up to the final internship, for which collective agreements already exist. to transfer. Former Lobo chairman De Kort has doubts about a mandatory internship allowance: “There is a difference between learning and working. It would be annoying if an internship allowance causes confusion about what can be expected of the intern and the school.”
Lori-Lisa van Gelder (41) from Heemskerk has just finished her shortened part-time teacher training course. She did an unpaid internship for a year and a half. “During the last six months of my education, I was paid two days a week as a teaching assistant and I did an official internship one day a week.”
She calls the amount she received on her account in the last period a 'tip' compared to her former income in the communication and media industry: “If you want to make this transition from the business world, you not only need a lot of perseverance , but also have a considerable savings of their own to bridge the loss of income.”
'My classmates and I are sometimes in quite a bit of financial trouble'*
Van Gelder had the savings. But in her study group, many motivated potential teachers dropped out because they couldn't make it financially: "Especially people who are in a similar life phase to me, with young children." Because of her young family, Van Gelder did not opt for lateral entry into the profession, the only education program in which lateral entry students receive a salary from day one.
In that training variant, Van Gelder, if found suitable, would have immediately taken up employment with a school board: working four days and going to school one day a week. “In practice, you do your study assignments in the weekend. I made the sum and ended up spending 80 hours a week on work and education. I didn't want that. I am also a mother.”
Collective labor agreements have already been made for final-year students who usually do a graduation internship. During such a final internship, student teachers teach independently. That is why employers and trade unions devised the lio contract even before this millennium. This entitles the teacher to half a teacher's salary, which is more than 1400 euros gross per month. But only 31 percent of students receive that amount, according to the AOb-survey. 33 percent indicate that they receive a reimbursement that differs from that agreed in the collective labor agreement. 36 percent of graduates receive no compensation at all for the final internship.
'Students are simply being cleverly used/abuse'*
The crux is that schools are allowed to decide for themselves whether they appoint a final-year trainee as a teacher in training (lio) or not. If it's up to the AOb that non-commitment disappears. AObchairman Van Gelder: “It just has to be clear to everyone. A student who does a final internship is a lio and should receive the compensation that we have agreed in the collective labor agreement.” Former teacher trainer De Kort believes that the programs should monitor 'much sharper and stricter' that these collective agreements are observed by the schools to which they send their students.
But even if the wallet is drawn, the arbitrariness is great. For example, a student at a biology teacher training course in the Central Netherlands received 800 euros per month for his final internship. That is not in accordance with the collective labor agreement, in his own words he belonged to the lucky few. “Most of my group got nothing.” When his final internship had to be extended due to circumstances, the compensation suddenly lapsed. “Against the agreement I had made with my contact person at the school.”
The future biology teacher was very disappointed, but did not contest the decision. “I still live at home, so I didn't get into immediate financial problems. And at least I had already received money for a while.” In addition, he was repeatedly told that his contact person had made a mistake: an extension of the internship would mean the end of the internship allowance. Via via he came up with the AOb in contact, who indicated that the course of events was not right.
'I find it strange that in a profession where there are so many shortages, the internships are unpaid'*
Subsequently, one email to his school board with the union in the cc was sufficient. The student received the reimbursement with retroactive effect: four months at 800 euros. “That was cause for celebration.” But all in all, the experience makes him skeptical. “This board is a major player in my area. Still, I might choose another employer in the future. I mean: I ended up doing well, but what about other students? Does this employer take good care of its staff? I doubt that now. I still find it very strange that it was not possible all this time and then suddenly it was.”
Broniak, teacher and working for the AOb, thinks that it is not necessarily unwillingness of employers not to pay for the final internship, but often also ignorance. “I pointed out the collective bargaining agreements to a smaller school board in our region: they have now adapted it – for the trainees.” Large foundations are often large companies, she says: “If one person does not know the agreements, things can go wrong.”
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The Education magazine wrote about it earlier lio interns. In 2019, 40 percent of them received no compensation for the final internship. This article led to parliamentary questions to the then education minister Arie Slob. He urged employers' organizations in 2020 to "to pay lios in accordance with the collective agreement and not to use trainees as lios'.
*This statement comes from a respondent of the AOb-research among students at teacher training colleges.