On Monday you wondered how good or bad the quality of special education is on our response platform NUjij. Which aspects stand out compared to regular schools? Read about it below.
About 70,000 pupils in the Netherlands follow special education because they cannot attend regular education due to, for example, a visual impairment or an abnormal development such as autism or ADHD. There are 264 schools for them throughout the Netherlands.
The nearest suitable school may be a long way from home and therefore municipalities should provide transport if necessary to take these pupils to school and pick them up. They then outsource it to a commercial carrier.
Problems with transportation
This transport regularly causes major problems. Three quarters of the respondents to a survey by Parents & Education indicated that they had sometimes submitted a complaint about student transport. That ranges from being late to simply forgetting to pick up a child.
But even if a trip goes as planned, the burden on the student can be heavy, especially the long travel time. Many parents also mention unrest among the children on the bus, even hitting and kicking.
Forced sexual acts
Transport is not the only huge problem. 27 percent of girls in secondary special education say they have been forced to perform sexual acts at some point, while this percentage is considerably lower in mainstream education. This concerns 7 percent of girls, report Rutgers and Soa Aids Nederland.
Researcher Hanneke de Graaf tells in de Volkskrant that these girls in special education may be more naive than girls in regular education and that it is more difficult for them to assess the intentions of others. Forced sexual acts usually involve French kissing or touching against one’s will, but a quarter of girls in special education say they have also had involuntary oral or manual sex.
Major teacher shortage
The national teacher shortage is also very noticeable in special education, which detracts from the quality of education offered. For example, according to various educational organisations, PABO students often have too little contact with special education. More attention can help combat the teacher shortage in special education.
There is a huge teacher shortage in special education. According to the latest estimates, it is even slightly greater than the teacher shortage in mainstream education. The Sector Council for Specialized Education (GO) and the PO Council, the sector organization for primary education, want everyone who becomes a teacher in primary education to become well acquainted with special education during their training.
Renate van Dijk is a director of Stichting Verderwijs, an organization that includes several schools for special education. She sees that teacher training colleges are taking steps to improve attention for special education. “But it’s not enough yet,” says Van Dijk. “It is important that special education does not dangle at the teacher training college, but really becomes part of the training.”
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