Dutch trade unions are being praised for Weits’ initiative to appoint teacher specialists

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“Masterly.” Similarly Daniel Woestenberg, president of the Dutch trade union CVN Education, calls out Flemish Minister Ben Weyts’s (N-VA) plan to pay teachers who make a little more. Like our country, Netherlands is also facing shortage of teachers. And so the Flemish system also appears to be a solution there.

Lawrence TorkSource: Eddie, own reporting

“It seems to me that it is part of modern personnel policy that an employer can differentiate between who really stands out and who just does a good job,” says Woestenberg. General bookkeeping, referring to the initiative of the Flemish Education Minister Ben Weits (N-VA). He wants to hire teacher specialists, who from September will earn about 250 euros per month net more than their colleagues.

The Netherlands, which is also facing a teacher shortage, has already tried a number of ways to make the job more attractive. For example, there are lateral entrants, there is extra money for teachers in ‘difficult schools’ and there is a ‘big city bonus’ of 1,000 euros per year because living there is so expensive.

Read this also. Education responds to plan to give higher wages to some colleagues: “There is a lack of understanding that there is money for this” (+)

The Dutch trade union CVN sees a system like EducationVites as a solution that could work for the Netherlands as well. “What I like about it is that it rewards mastery. The discussion is about quality, because in Belgium employees don’t have to talk about inflation: automatic price compensation is still in place there. Happens. We’ve been given 5.2 per cent headroom by the cabinet to raise wages in the Netherlands. Great, but that doesn’t give you inflation either. We also like to see quality.

In Flanders, however, not everyone sees the plan as a solution. Because it is up to the management to decide who gets increment or not and one teacher out of maximum twenty teachers is entitled to that increment. Last week, Teachers Tapp Vlaanderen, an app for people involved in education who want to keep a finger on the pulse in the sector, launched a survey asking whether the measure was a good way to tackle teacher shortages. 42 per cent respondents said they ‘strongly disagree’, with only 3 per cent ‘strongly agree’. Most indicated that they did not want to specialize. And 57 percent of the boards indicated that they did not want to implement it.

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