Dutch Students Protest Long School Days!

Dutch high school students are represented by the "Landelijk Aktie Komitee voor Studenten", (see: LAKS English Page) a national action committee which functions quite differently from the student councils we have here in the U.S. It is an organization by students for students and looks out for their interests.

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In November of 2007 LAKS urged students to speak out against the 1040 mandatory hours of schooling. All over The Netherlands students went on strike for three days. They organized and marched to town halls to demonstrate for "Quality over quantity"education.

Due to a teacher shortage students feel their needs are not met simply by being required to be in school for more hours. Said a Member of Parliament:“ I receive letters from students who have to spend hours in study hall without any teachers nearby to check in on them"

The Radio Netherlands Press Review Service for 12 February 2008 reports:

..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.. 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."

In other Dutch Education news

Testing

"The Internet "Nrc.next" edition 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.

A majority of Members of Parliament 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.

Stress

"Trouw" [national newspaper] 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."

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