Shadow education has grown enormously due to the NPO funds.
Shadow education has grown enormously due to the NPO funds.

Picture: Type tank

Education minister Wiersma wants to curb the tutoring industry

Education Minister Dennis Wiersma wants schools to discourage private tutoring, final test and exam training and homework guidance, instead of promoting it as is now regularly done. It will no longer be allowed to advertise private supplementary education through the school. Wiersma: 'Paid additional education leads to inequality of opportunity and should not be necessary.'

Private supplementary education has been growing rapidly in the Netherlands for years. A report from SEO Economic Research from 2019 shows that more than a quarter of students in primary and secondary schools use paid shadow education. The Education Council be a half year ago the risks and pushed for legislation to better protect public education. Wiersma is now taking the first steps in that direction.

During the letter to the House of Representatives writes the minister that many schools make a good decision about the use of private agencies, but he also knows of examples of schools that use their website or open day to advertise tutoring, homework guidance, or final test or exam training: 'Situations like this are undesirable.'

Wiersma believes that every student should have access to good education. Paid additional education, as described above, leads to inequality of opportunity and should not be necessary, he writes.

Advertising for shadow education in schools 'gives the impression that tutoring or homework guidance is necessary or self-evident'

The minister is thus carrying out the motion adopted by SP MP Peter Kwint and GroenLinks MP Lisa Westerveld from 2020 against advertising for shadow education through schools. Wiersma: 'It gives parents the impression that tutoring or homework guidance is necessary or self-evident. And it also blurs the line between private and public offerings in education.'

Wallet

The editors of the Education magazine signaled early this year that the tutoring industry has grown enormously as a result of the 8 billion euros for the National Education Programme. Thijs Roovers, director for the AOb: “How good your education is as a child depends more and more on how big your parents' wallet is. We are pleased that the minister is speaking out, but we would rather see these kinds of commercial practices disappear altogether. The people who work for these private companies are most welcome to become teachers or school leaders. We will welcome them with open arms.”

Wiersma is going to investigate a quality mark for private supplementary education and wants to make the Certificate of Good Conduct (VOG) mandatory for staff of private education providers. This autumn, the House of Representatives will be informed of the results of discussions between the minister and the school boards in primary and secondary education, the Primary and Secondary Education Councils. Municipalities are also involved in discussions to curb the tutoring industry. In the autumn there should also be more clarity about what legislation and standards could look like.

At the beginning of 2023, Wiersma expects new research into the forms of supplementary education, developments in the market and the relationship between private providers and government-funded schools.

 

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