‘Schools too free to spend government money’, Minister wants control back

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Minister Dennis Wiersma for Primary and Secondary Education
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Minister Dennis Wiersma wants the government to have more control over how money is spent on education. As far as he is concerned, school boards will be given less freedom and more attention will be paid to the expertise of teachers. In addition, the inspection must be deployed more often and amounts that do not end up properly will be recovered more quickly.

Wiersma writes this in response to a report he sent to the House of Representatives. That Interdepartmental Policy Research (IBO) is about different ways in which the government can improve the quality of education and do something about inequality of opportunity between students.

The Minister for Primary and Secondary Education sees this as a reason for “a fundamental reassessment of the management model”. The current model, which has existed since the 1980s, gives school boards a great deal of freedom in the way they deal with the money they receive from the government for materials and personnel (the ‘lumpsum financing’).

Wiersma is no longer satisfied with this because the interests of school boards can “collide with the greater social interest”. He thinks it is important for important matters in education, such as tackling inequality of opportunity and teacher shortages, that it is important not to look at how the money is spent per school, but more broadly. “I see a role for an involved government here,” he writes.

Conditions to government financing

The minister also wants to see whether the current funding from the government can be overhauled. He is thinking about a legal possibility to attach conditions to it, so that he can say to a school, for example: you are only eligible if you work with a proven good teaching method. According to him, the teachers who work with it every day know best, and should be heard about it.

The minister will now first talk to “everyone in and around education” and will come up with detailed plans at the beginning of 2024.

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