Press Review Friday, Friday, 4 April 2008

4th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

A roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands

Survival of the fittest
"Don't count directly on the government in an emergency" is the less than reassuring headline in AD. It's even less reassuring when you find out it's a quote from Interior minister Guusje ter Horst.

The minister believes it's time for the Dutch to wake up to reality.

"In the past, the government has created a situation in which people trusted blindly in our support, but they have to face up to their own responsibilities."

She's calling on citizens to have enough food and drink at home as well as a working torch and a battery operated radio. Her advice in a flood? Sit tight and go somewhere high up.

To hammer home her point, she'll be handing out emergency survival packs to her civil servants this year instead of a Christmas hamper and encouraging all employers to do the same.

Some civil servants want to work longer
Trouw focuses on a group of civil servants between the ages of 50 and 65 who call themselves the Grey Lions.

"We don't want to be put out to pasture!" they insist. "Of course there will always be people with long faces counting the days till their pension. But there are also others who are still eager to learn."

However, circumstances at the ministries encourage just that: In order to cut jobs, many civil servants have been encouraged to retire at 57 on very favourable terms. The odd thing is that the government seems so keen to get rid of its own older staff while telling the rest of society how vital it is that older people keep working.

"They act as if all our years of experience can be replaced just like that," complains one disgruntled public servant. "They forget that older employees are sometimes more daring than their younger colleagues, who are still anxious to build a career. I'm far more likely to take on a project where there's a risk that it might not turn out well."

Schools have tons of money

Several of today's papers are getting worked up about the money that Dutch school boards are keeping on their bank accounts. "Schools are rolling in money" is the headline in Trouw.

The paper reports on the AOB education union's efforts to find out how well-off schools are, after some complained of not being able to hire cleaners or organise staff training courses. It turns out that 1272 school boards are good for 1.5 billion euros.

Such revelations have De Telegraaf foaming at the mouth. Its editorial likens the schools to Donald Duck's miserly Uncle Scrooge. "It begs the question of whether our children are attending educational institutions or financial institutions."

It points out that schools are asking a lot of parents, from help with renovations to reading to the children.

"And now we find out that they are sitting on mountains of money," the paper fumes. "That money should be spent on providing a better education ... and if there's any left over they can hire a handyman to relieve the parent-slaves of their duties."

[Radio Netherlands / David Doherty / Expatica]





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