RNW Press Review - Tuesday 12 February 2008

12th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

A roundup of today's press from Radio Netherlands.

RNW Press Review - Tuesday 12 February 2008 - by Mike Wilcox

The row over just how many hours school students should be in the classroom is set to continue. It last hit the headlines when school pupils ran amok at demonstrations in Amsterdam last year. Following the trouble, the government agreed a slight reduction in the 1040 hours at present required.

Hours spent
De Volkskrant today leads with the news that the Secondary Education Council is expected to back slashing the number of compulsory lesson hours to 890 a year. An Amsterdam head teacher says: "There is broad backing for the plan. ...We also want an inquiry into whether financing is generous enough for so many lessons."

Another head teacher, this time from neighbouring Zaanstad, explains: "It's extremely irritating that the quality of education is equated with the time spent on the job..... It's always made to seem that the number of hours worked in schools is continually on the decrease."

Nrc.next  moves to younger children, and the examination they sit at the end of primary school. The test result and an assessment given by their teachers decide what kind of secondary school they will attend. However, to improve their average results, schools do not let weaker students sit the exam.

A majority of MPs want all primary school leavers to take a test. However, a parliamentary motion to make the present test compulsory lacks the backing of two governing parties. They believe schools should be free to choose another kind of test if they want. An opposition MP says: "Well, let them come up with a solution themselves. How long do we have to wait before the will of parliament is carried out?"

Trouw reports on a primary school in Den Oever on the North Holland coast where the test is being set for the first time today. The much-discussed idea that examining children around 11 years of age causes them undue stress is not backed up by what the kids themselves say.

Little Leon tells us: "I didn't know the test was today. I thought it was sometime next week." His classmate Linda says: "I haven't thought about it today. No, this morning my mind was more on skating: we're going to the ice rink with the school this afternoon."

Home visits
The AD reports that a service is being launched on 1 September to provide home visits by doctors in the evening and at weekends. The organiser explains: "There's a real need. Certainly, from people with children or old people. They can't drive for 45 minutes to see an out-of-hours doctor." To prevent overuse, an extra charge will be made for the service. The paper says the government is positive about the development.

De Telegraaf says part-time, unemployed and retired doctors will staff the service. The organiser again: "The people we're recruiting are not at all finished with the medical profession. They are highly motivated."

Bad patients
Meanwhile, Trouw covers a Health Care Council report which says that doctors should be able to refuse to treat patients who repeatedly indulge in unacceptable behaviour. The council says patients have rights but also duties. Chairman Rein Meijerink explains: "What patients sometimes get away with should not be allowed".

The report says patients should do what they have agreed, take their medicine, and, if necessary, change their lifestyles. Although, it does not advise financial sanctions be used to penalise bad patients, it does favour extra taxes on alcohol, tobacco and fast food. Mr Meijerink again: "The relationship between lifestyle and health is becoming increasingly clear".

"Twice as many winter-sports broken legs" reads one of De Telegraaf's front-page headlines. It informs us that 1,700 unfortunate skiers and snowboarders have already had to cut their holidays short, and it's not even the end of February.

An insurance spokesman explains: "The snow conditions are very good. That's why people are deciding on last-minute winter-sports holidays. And more people means more accidents."

Blue skies
De Telegraaf provides us with another reason to stay at home. On its front page, there are pictures of people basking in the sun. "Another lovely day" is the headline. For three days in a row, the Netherlands has been treated to blue skies and temperatures up to 15 degrees Celsius. And, says the paper, spring only officially begins next month.

[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]

Subject: Dutch news 

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