The House of Representatives voted on the education motions on Tuesday afternoon.
The House of Representatives voted on the education motions on Tuesday afternoon.

Picture: Livestream Tweede Kamer

House of Representatives: intervene in excessively rich partnerships

Withholding money from partnerships with overfull piggy banks and a brake on the influx of foreign students in higher education. With a range of motions regarding the education budget, the House of Representatives sought more control over education yesterday afternoon.

The House of Representatives believes it is high time to intervene in associations for appropriate education with too large piggy banks. The money saved in this way should be used for appropriate education. A motion on this, submitted by GroenLinks, PvdA, SP, PvdD, D66, BIJ1, PVV and Denk, received the support of an overwhelming majority. Only the SGP voted against.

Many political parties are disturbed by the fact that partnerships overexert their reserves slower than they themselves have promised in an action plan. The annoyance is shared by education minister Dennis Wiersma, who already alluded to financial sanctions in written answers. He therefore gave the motion his blessing in advance: “I can well imagine that you are now saying 'enough is enough'.” It remains to be seen how these and other motions will work out in practice in the near future.

Employment agencies

The generous buffers have been a source of political and social annoyance for years. The Education Magazine published regularly about the reserves since 2017. 'Persistence works', tweeted GroenLinks Member of Parliament Lisa Westerveld, who has been drawing attention to this for just as long. Furthermore, it appeared last week that Wiersma wants to present a bill next spring to tackle excessive reservations among school boards.

“It is good to note that a number of concerns of the AOb are now also the concerns of the House of Representatives and the minister,” responds AObchairman Tamar van Gelder. “Some situations have been going on for years and have been tolerated for too long. An example of this is the money on the shelf for appropriate education. It is incomprehensible that it has taken so long, when we have known what is going on for five years.”

Teacher shortage

That the House of Representatives wants more grip on education to tackle problems, pale last week during the debate on the education budget. On Tuesday afternoon, 54 motions were passed in mood of which 43 received a majority. For example, a national network of substitute pools must be set up and agreements must be made employment agencies keep out of education. To put pressure on agreements yet to be made about the reducing of temporary contracts, the House of Representatives wants to legislate, if necessary, that if teachers perform well, they always get a permanent appointment after a year. School boards must also work together more to reduce the teacher shortage.

“The money for education should go to education, not to commerce. It's nice that the room now thinks that too”

“Every morning I hear commercials from commercial employment agencies for teachers on the radio,” says Van Gelder. “To annoy you to death, the money for education should go to education, not to commerce. It's nice that the room now agrees.”

In most cases, the adopted motions are in line with the course already advocated by the education ministers, or they serve as a helping hand. The House of Representatives embraced six motions against the expressed wishes of the ministers, according to a small analysis by the editors. Wiersma saw one motion passed that he had explicitly advised against, his colleague Robbert Dijkgraaf no fewer than five.

Two of them are about the blown internationalization in higher education: the minister must ensure that institutions temporarily stop the 'active recruitment' of foreign students and come up with a bill before the summer of 2023 to curb the influx of international students.

Own party

Dijkgraaf referred to the administrative agreement signed last summer, in which it was agreed that universities will be 'very reluctant' to recruit internationally. The minister wants to take the time until the summer to explore a 'future-proof' system of higher education and research, on the basis of which he will come up with proposals. Also noteworthy: three of the five adopted motions that Dijkgraaf advised against received support from his own party D66.

As expected, the motion that generated the most media attention around the debate received little political support. The CDA proposal for a statutory ban on mobile telephones in the classroom was rejected by a large majority without a chance.

This is the third article about the treatment of the 2023 education budget. Read also: Politics The Hague yearns for more control over education en House of Representatives: targets for more permanent contracts.

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