Inflation causes poverty in education, at home and in the classroom
Forty percent of teaching staff say they will run into financial problems if a wage increase is not introduced until the spring - with new collective labor agreements. This is evident from a AObsurvey among more than 1700 teachers and support staff. More than half of the teaching staff see poverty among their pupils and students: 'no lunch and broken shoes'.
When it comes to their own wallet, especially teachers and support staff in the lowest salary scales quickly get into trouble. A teacher supporter responds to an open question in the AOb-survey: 'My income no longer covers my fixed costs. I no longer pay off the mortgage and only pay the interest. Financial problems are being passed on to the future.'
What educational staff notice from inflation is, of course, what the majority of the Dutch experience. Groceries that are quickly becoming more expensive, for example: 'Where you used to have a reasonable shopping cart with groceries for 70 to 80 euros, you now have a basket with groceries for that amount', writes one respondent.
For some of the staff, energy bills have tripled or quadrupled in a short period of time. And the petrol or diesel tank – which for some people has to be filled to get to work – also weighs heavily on the monthly costs: 'I have to fill up at least four times a month, while my travel allowance for the entire month only fills up once. covers. I currently spend almost 300 euros on commuting alone," writes a teacher in secondary education (vo).
For those who already have bad luck, for example due to illness, the rising costs hit harder. A fellow secondary school teacher writes: “I am a single earner, my wife has no income due to multiple sclerosis (MS). Until now, that was barely possible. But with this inflation, we're going to get into financial trouble."
Teachers and support staff who live in old and unsustainable houses are also hit extra hard. Just like singles and young families who incur high living costs. A primary school teacher writes: 'I always have to borrow to get through the month in case of unexpected expenses. Think of a car breakdown or a new bicycle for our child.'
The consequences of inflation are sometimes dire. 'The heater stays off, we are left in the cold and go to bed early with an electric blanket', says a primary school teacher. A pregnant secondary school teacher writes: 'I have trouble buying diapers. The heating won't turn on and our central heating boiler will have to be replaced soon, but we can't save enough to pay for this.'
Savings are mainly made on fresh products, 'doing fun things' and new footwear, according to the reactions. Respondents also notice this when they are in front of the class. In the same survey, education staff massively report children who come to school without breakfast – or students in secondary school: without a lunch box.
Teachers and supporters notice that there is no money left in the families for, for example, licenses for school programs, a laptop or books. The RTL-Nieuws editors made on the basis of the AOb-survey the message 'No lunch, broken shoes: teachers see consequences of inflation in students.'
'This is even more serious than we anticipated'
AObchairman Tamar van Gelder. “You're really scared. This is even more serious than we anticipated. That so many teachers and support staff get into trouble, or are at risk of it. And that they see poverty so often in school. There has always been invisible poverty in the classroom, but it is now becoming visible and expanding rapidly. That is very painful. Unfortunately, we can't do more than a very loud shout-out to politicians: see how big this problem is now!'
More than 1700 people who work in education responded to the survey about the consequences of inflation in the past fourteen days. More than 70 percent of them are teachers, a quarter are supportive and the rest are management or otherwise. Of the respondents, 57 percent work in primary education, 28 percent in secondary education, 8 percent in MBO and the rest in higher education or elsewhere.
Increased cost of living
81 percent already notices inflation 'strongly' in its own wallet, 31 percent of which: 'very strong'
Fear of financial problems
83 percent is afraid of getting into financial trouble. 52 percent a little and 31 percent 'fairly'.
Poverty among children and young people
54 percent of the respondents already see that students are being affected. 42 percent says he has insufficient insight into the financial situation of students at home, or of their students.
40 percent needs a wage increase before the new collective labor agreements are concluded in the spring of 2023. Otherwise, this group expects to have money problems before that time.
Willingness to take action
The willingness to take action is great: 87 percent of the respondents want to take action for short-term compensation measures by the cabinet.
Van Gelder: “The AOb is in line with actions carried out by the FNV. This is a society-wide problem. You see, as always, that problems in society quickly roll into the classroom.”