Schools in trouble with implementation of NPO
Half of the primary schools surveyed think they will face difficulties in implementing the National Education Program (NPO). They have great difficulty finding staff and see the temporary nature of the program as an obstacle.
AOb-chairman Tamar van Gelder: “Convert the remaining money into a structural amount. In this way, the situation in education can be sustainably improved.” From the start, the AOb that a one-off injection of 8,5 billion euros will not solve the structural problems in education. Van Gelder: “On the contrary, we see that the problems in schools are being increased and partly moved because there is a need for the deployment of extra staff. That staff is not there. Tutoring and employment agencies benefit from this.”
Today sent outgoing education minister Arie Slob (CU) presented a first interim evaluation on the implementation of the NPO to the House of Representatives. He emphasizes that this concerns the state of affairs at the beginning of the 2021/2022 school year and that it does not yet say anything about the actual use of the money.
On the one hand, Slob sees that schools are picking up steam and that teams are 'putting their weight behind it and taking steps to restore the perspective of their students', he writes. Schools have mapped out exactly what deficiencies there are and have used the test results for this, but also, for example, observations by teachers and mentors.
Earlier on The Education Inspectorate has already investigated the consequences of the corona measures for staff, pupils and students. It now appears that students in primary education experienced an average learning delay of ten weeks during the math crisis. In that subject, the leather damage was greatest in primary school. The greatest disadvantages in reading skills lie in secondary education. In the lower years of VMBO and HAVO, delays are on average greater than in VWO.
From the start, the AOb that a one-off injection of 8,5 billion euros does not solve the structural problems in education
Most participation councils are involved in drawing up the school plans. Where that was not the case, it will still happen, according to the minister. Three quarters of primary schools opt for measures to improve the well-being of pupils. In VSO this even concerns 92 percent of the schools. Many schools opt for instruction in small groups, Slob reports. They have to recruit extra staff for that. The minister finds it 'remarkable' that schools experience the shortage on the labor market and the temporary nature of money as a bottleneck, but with the NPO money they do want to opt for measures that require extra staff.
Institutions in senior secondary vocational education and higher education are also making great strides. In these sectors there are concrete plans to improve study delay and the well-being of students. In general, the minister sees that the participation councils are also well involved in drawing up the plans.
But there is another side: the worries. The fact that it is not structural money is such a bottleneck. Schools cannot offer new colleagues a permanent contract and must spend the money within two years, but can hardly find staff. In basic education, the minister writes that an initial exploration shows that schools are attracting external staff; especially for homework guidance, sports and cultural education and for specific tasks concerning special needs pupils. Here is an in-depth study.
There is also a call for more time, both from basic education and from senior secondary vocational education and higher education. AObChairman Van Gelder says it is clear that spending 8,5 billion euros entails a great deal of responsibility. The AOb therefore argues in favor of making a structural investment of the remaining amount. “That way you improve the situation in education sustainably and you spend the money carefully.” The union believes that a structural investment of more than 6 billion euros is needed.
De AOb advocates making a structural investment of the remaining amount
Whether the minister will actually distribute the money in a different way is not yet known. He will send a letter about this in the spring of 2022. The minister will continue to monitor the entire program and the House of Representatives will be re-evaluated.
Also read the article: 'Education will not structurally improve with temporary money' from the Education Magazine. Also view our handy guides on the NPO page.