No after-school care for 20,0000 children
6 September 2007, THE HAGUE – About 20,000 primary school children are on the waiting list for after-school care . The Taskforce After-School Care wrote this in its report. The shortage has risen despite an enormous increase in availability of after-school care.
6 September 2007
THE HAGUE – About 20,000 primary school children are on the waiting list for after-school care . The Taskforce After-School Care wrote this in its report. The shortage has risen despite an enormous increase in availability of after-school care.
The children on the waiting list will need to wait about 6 months on average, according to the taskforce. The explosive demand exceeds the current childcare capacity. At the end of this year the capacity will be 20 percent greater than at the end of 2006.
This means that at the end of this year 215,000 children will make use of after-school care, 35,000 more than last year. State Secretary for Education Sharon Dijksma referred to the increase as ‘gigantic and unexpected’. The demand has risen sharply because parents are thinking more positively about childcare than they used to.
In addition, an increasing number of mums and dads have jobs because of the economic recovery and childcare has become cheaper. Parents just pay roughly one-fifth of the costs for after-school care. The fact that since the beginning of this school year schools are obliged to offer after school care also helps.
According to Bruno Bruins of the Taskforce, the shortage of childcare is mainly due to the lack of buildings to accommodate the children and their minders. Municipalities in particular should assume their responsibility, Bruins argues. Furthermore, he advises parents whose children are on the waiting list to opt for childcare on Wednesday and Friday afternoons because on those days there are often still places available.
Even so Bruins does not think that ‘it is a realistic scenario to believe that the waiting list problems will be resolved shortly’. To resolve the problem the children’s daily schedule would need to be changed in the future.
In the current situation childcare is available before and after classes and during the lunch break. It is difficult to find staff for such fragmented working hours. In the long term he would like schools to teach classes from 8.00 a.m to 2.00 p.m. After 2.00 p.m. the children would be looked after until 6.30 p.m.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]
Subject: Dutch new