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4000 schools closed: big national education sector strike to go ahead

The education sector in the Netherlands is all set to go on a national strike today.  The strike was originally cancelled when the government had agreed to invest 460 million euros in the education sector. It was back on when it was clear that this would not solve any problems in the long term. 4000 schools have shut shop and campaigns are being organized all over the country, reports NU.nl.

“The biggest problem is that it is not structural money,” says Simone van Geest, spokesperson for education association AOb. “It is a very small patch with which you try to close a gaping gap temporarily. You can offer the teachers a little extra salary for one year, but after a year they have to return it. That is not a solution.” Four out of 10 schools in the Netherlands experience a teacher shortage. If this keeps going in the same way, the education sector expects 6000-8000 fulltime jobs to be cut out next year, reports NU.nl.

What kind of solution are the teachers looking for?

The strike has been organised to take place today as the House of Representatives is debating the budget for the education sector for the upcoming year. They are hoping to see a good, long-term investment plan which tries to solve all the problems the education sector is currently under.

Four out of ten schools suffer from a structural teacher shortage: the expectation is that schools will be short of six to eight thousand full-time jobs next year.

“Half a billion is the absolute minimum for an emergency package,” explains Van Geest. “The teacher problem has been going on for ten years and is now so large that a structural investment of 4 billion euros must certainly be made to make all problems disappear.”

What can we expect from the strike?

As of Tuesday afternoon, 3818 schools had registered for the strike today. Individual teachers have also taken it upon themselves to strike, so even if their school remains open, they will not be going in to teach any of the classes today.

Translation: “The entire Erasmus Bridge is full and the cars have to wait,” says AOb district director Jan Menger, who is walking along with the march in Rotterdam.

Additionally, the campaigns are going to be spread out all over the country. Teachers in Utrecht are organizing a “freeze”: they will be standing still in Utrecht Centraal. Strikers are expected on Dam Square in Amsterdam and Leeuwarden. Teachers n Alblasserdam are planning on baking pancakes for people in a retirement home. Some cities like Almere and Zwolle are going to have some platforms where teachers and others can come together to talk about the problems they encounter.
Is your child affected by the strike today? Are you teacher striking? What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature Image: Teresa Gubern/Supplied. 
Kavana Desai
Kavana Desaihttps://medium.com/@kavanadesai
Coping with the aftermath of her 3-year stint in the Netherlands, Kavana is a writer, content creator and editor for DutchReview. Hailing from India, she frequently blogs about the Netherlands, being Indian in the Netherlands, and everything in between. She envisions herself to one day be the youngest person to win that Nobel Prize for Literature (she is also not very humble but welcomes only constructive criticism). In the meantime, she fills her days with writing for DutchReview, writing her master's thesis on art theft, and writing fiction that will hopefully see the light of day soon.


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