Holland experiments with teacher bonuses

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Dutch Deputy Education Minister Halbe Zijlstra has given three schools the green light to pay bonuses to teachers who perform well. The government has earmarked 80 million euros to finance the experiment up to 2015.

The hope is that the move will improve the standard of teaching in schools. The Netherlands Institute for Social Research SCP published a report on Wednesday saying too many schoolchildren lack basic numeracy and literacy skills. It warned that standards were getting worse not better.

The experiment will be monitored by researchers from Rotterdam’s Erasmus University. They will report on whether student’s skills have indeed improved thanks to the bonuses paid good teachers.

Teachers will not be awarded extra payments as a result of team leaders’ assessments alone. Pupils will also fill in questionnaires about their teachers’ performances.

Teachers’ representatives are against the bonuses, saying that experiments abroad have shown they don’t have the desired effect. They are angry that money is being used to finance the experiment while cuts are being imposed on the education budget as a whole.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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