Education Minister Dennis Wiersma thinks it is worth considering abolishing voluntary parental contributions in primary schools. A motion to that effect was filed in the Tweed Comer on Friday by several educational, student and parent groups, which will be discussed with the minister next week. They believe their donations promote inequality. Additionally, groups believe it is unfair that parents have to pay extra for digital learning tools such as laptops and tablets.
“Some schools act as if this parental donation is not voluntary,” Wiersma said. According to the minister, donations may also be used as criteria for student selection. “It’s already prohibited by law. So enforcing it is a problem.” He said he was still looking.
He pointed out that it has already allocated hundreds of millions of euros in additional budget to combat inequality of opportunity in education. Among other things, this money will be donated to schools that offer special activities for their students, such as tutoring and hands-on lessons with entrepreneurs. Vielsma is ready to “do whatever” if more needs prove to be necessary. The minister said several reports had been written on parental contributions and he still wanted to make a prudent decision.
“I think it means we need more money,” Wielsma said of the abolition of parental contributions. In that case, the government would have to intervene, for example, to organize school excursions. “I understand that both parties have always agreed on education,” he said.
Wiersma believes this is a “good discussion” that organizations like the Public Education Association, PO Council, VO Council, AOb and LAKS are having about digital learning tools. In a letter to Tweed Comer, they wrote that the purchase would lead to higher tuition fees, further increasing inequality. The minister is looking at ways to make such learning tools affordable for children from poor families. And it’s still debating whether it should be stipulated for all students, or only for those whose parents are less wealthy. The latter was done when students needed tablets and laptops for home study during the coronavirus pandemic.
https://nltimes.nl/2023/06/04/new-push-end-voluntary-parent-cash-contribution-elementary-schools New move to end voluntary parental cash donations to primary schools