NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 06:09
Various parent, student and educational organizations have written to the House of Representatives calling on the voluntary parental contribution to be abolished in primary education. They also advocate free digital learning resources such as laptops and graphing calculators.
Among the organizations that have signed the letter are the Public Education Association (VOO), the LAKS, the VO Council and the Primary Education Council.
The voluntary parental contribution
The voluntary parental contribution is a non-compulsory financial contribution that parents can make annually to their child’s school. The contribution is intended for activities outside of the lessons.
In 2021, it will be laid down in law that children may never be excluded from activities if their parents have not made a contribution.
“Good education must be equally accessible to every child, regardless of the parents’ wallet,” says Marco Frijlink, chairman of the VOO. “Now the exact opposite is happening.”
Although the contribution is not legally required, the extra activities do come under pressure at schools where parents do not pay the contribution, the organizations write in the letter. “We see that differences between schools are getting bigger.” The organizations do see the added value of the extra activities and want to keep them afloat, but with an amount per student from the government.
Textbooks vs. digital learning resources
Fifteen years ago, textbooks in secondary education became free. Since then, however, more and more use has been made of digital learning resources, to which this does not apply.
The organizations point out that these digital resources are now so indispensable that the costs for parents are rising sharply. They therefore believe that the legal definition of free educational resources should be broadened.