For 2021, 17,1 million euros will immediately be available for teacher grants.
For 2021, 17,1 million euros will immediately be available for teacher grants.

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Million cuts off the table, support for teacher grant

The cut of 149 million euros in MBO and higher education is off the table, more money will be made for teacher grants and physical education remains the norm.

Just before the summer, the House of Representatives made all kinds of decisions. At the end of last week, for example, the House voted in favor of the teacher's grant with which teachers can continue their education, for example with a master's degree.

The cabinet has been coming since last summer short on money for these scholarships. To the fury of trade unions and the left-wing opposition, it recently emerged that for the coming academic year, more than 1200 teachers have been rejected.

The PvdA has found a solution. At the Ministry of Economic Affairs there was still money on the shelf for the so-called 'job-related investment discount' for companies. That arrangement has been canceled since the beginning of this year, but 60,3 million euros had already been reserved for its implementation. Use that money for the teacher grant, suggested PvdA MP Henk Nijboer.

Good idea, also thought the House of Representatives, which approved his amendment. The money will be made available to the teacher grant until 2024 and 2021 million euros will immediately be released for 17,1. The decision was not unanimous: of the governing parties, D66 and ChristenUnie voted in favor of the amendment and VVD and CDA against it.

Cutbacks on MBO and higher education

A majority of the House of Representatives also supported D66's amendment not to allow corona support for students to be at the expense of MBO and higher education. Only VVD, CDA and PVV voted against.

For the next two and a half years, the cabinet has earmarked 8,5 billion euros for corona support for education. One of the support measures is that students receive student finance for a few months longer. They can also use their public transport student card for longer. However, the costs for the extra student grant and public transport travel rights only come after those two and a half years. That is why the cabinet 'parked' a austerity of 149 million euros on the OCW budget, according to the Spring Memorandum. Start of last week protested the AOb and others still in The Hague against this cutback.

According to Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven, it was no one's intention to actually cut back on MBO and higher education and the 'technical booking' in the OCW budget would be repaired at the formation table. But the educational institutions and part of the House of Representatives did not trust that, resulting in the D66 amendment that has now been adopted.

Physical education

Another hot topic is online education. The House of Representatives was afraid that some institutions would continue to offer their students online working groups and lectures after the corona crisis, for cost reasons.

SP MP Peter Kwint received enough votes for his motion, which he submitted with D66, PvdD and Volt. This calls on the cabinet to make it clear to the institutions that physical education is the norm and that distance learning may only be switched to in exceptional circumstances and under imperative circumstances. And then only if students and lecturers agree. VVD, CDA and ChristenUnie voted against this motion.

Read also: 'Blugged with the teacher's grant'

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