Biggest teachers' strike in 30 years

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At least 50,000 teachers demonstrated on Tuesday against cuts in education for children with special needs. A mass rally was held in the Amsterdam Arena. It was the biggest teachers’ protest since a mass demonstration in 1982.

Teachers from primary and secondary are protesting against a 300-million-euro cut in the education budget for children with special needs. At present Dutch children with special needs receive a budget, a so-called "rugsac". Parents can choose to spend the money at a special school or a local school.

The government wants more children with special needs to be accepted in ordinary schools. In future the budget for children with special needs will be given to a regional authority. As a results thousands of jobs are expected to be lost in special schools and classes will become bigger. Meanwhile teachers fear that children with special needs in ordinary schools will not get the support they need.

A spokesperson for one of the teachers’ unions said many striking teachers were unable to reach the stadium because of the congestion and were forced to head back home. As a result of the industrial action, more than 1700 schools were closed and teachers from 3000 schools joined the strike.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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