Ministry crackdown on reduced lesson time
5 July 2004 , AMSTERDAM − In response to breaches of regulations, the Education Ministry has said it intends to take action against the increasing amount of free time that secondary school students are being given.
5 July 2004
AMSTERDAM − In response to breaches of regulations, the Education Ministry has said it intends to take action against the increasing amount of free time that secondary school students are being given.
The Education Inspectorate has alerted the ministry to the fact that students are increasingly getting 17 weeks of free time each year instead of the maximum 12 weeks of holidays stipulated under Dutch regulations.
Investigations indicate that 15.5 weeks holiday is about average, but adding in Christmas and Easter and the three to five weeks of exams, many schools are thus failing to give their students the legally-required hours of lessons.
Most students are only getting a maximum of 32 weeks of lessons instead of the required 40 per year, newspaper De Volkskrant reported on Monday.
The beginning lessons at the start of each year often do not occur as timetables and books are distributed among students. Report discussions, team meetings and teacher courses are also increasingly reducing the actual amount of lesson time Dutch students are being given.
A spokesman for public schools association VOSS/ABB said that complaints over the long holidays were well known and admitted it was a negative development. He said schools should hold more efficient meetings.
The national parents association Ouders & Coo particularly criticised the long summer holidays. The mid-year break is often seven weeks compared with the three or four weeks that a parent receives, news agency ANP reported.
An inspectorate spokeswoman said the education authority often calls schools to account, but has no power to impose sanctions. The inspectorate is now trying to change the situation via the Education Ministry.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news