The Education Council has proposed that if schools are still closed after the May holidays, the new school year may start earlier in the fall in order to make up for any gaps and bring students up to date.
The advice was conveyed to the Dutch Minister for Primary and Secondary Education and Media, Arie Slob, who had asked for advice. The minister was concerned with how primary, secondary and MBO (vocational education) should be brought to date, according to NOS.
The Education Council notes that schools should already prepare in advance in case they continue to remain closed after the May holidays (usually taking place between the end of April and beginning of May) and should also be guided by the government.
More to be announced next Tuesday
Next Tuesday, the cabinet will announce whether or not schools will remain closed after the May break. If schools are closed, the Education Council advocates for schools to open earlier in the next school year. According to Edith Hooge, the chairman of the Council, “if the learning interruption lasts longer than six weeks, problems will grow.”
Students with difficult home lives will suffer
The Council is also concerned about students coming from vulnerable backgrounds, such as situations in which home is not necessarily a safe place, or where there is inadequate supervision of students and computer use. These students are at a greater educational risk, and the council believes that they should be granted with additional support during these times.
Additionally, the Council has suggested that perhaps summer school might be an option for students that cannot study at home, with a focus not just on education but also on social and emotional development.
Starting up again
The Education Council advises that not all schools should be opened up at once, but gradually in order for the government to help teachers get the support they need in order determine the levels that students are in, what support they should be given as well as how to proceed.
The Dutch government will try to integrate the advice of the Education Council into its policy. Slob emphasises that emergency care is given to children from difficult circumstances, and that the cabinet will do its utmost best to ensure that schools don’t fall behind in their curricula.
Do you think it’s a good idea to start schools early in the coming school year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Feature Image: Lucélia Ribeiro/Flickr