07 November 2022, by Victoria Séveno
In an attempt to alleviate the strain on the Dutch education system and reduce the impact of the national shortage of teachers, the Dutch government has launched a trial scheme that will see any teachers who agree to increase their hours receive a one-off bonus.
The Netherlands facing a growing shortage of teachers
For several years now, the Netherlands has faced a growing shortage of workers in both the childcare and education sectors. Research conducted by Centerdata – a research institute in Tilburg – found that in October 2021, the country was suffering from a shortage of 9,1 percent of teachers, or 9.100 full-time jobs. The shortage is more severe in cities like Amsterdam, Almere, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague.
The latest stage of the government’s plan to tackle the shortage involves launching a trial that invites schools to reward full-time workers with a bonus. While the details of what this bonus will look like remain unclear, any teachers that agree to adjust their contracts and switch from part-time to full-time or increase their hours will likely receive a one-off payment from their employer.
“It is increasingly difficult to find enough colleagues – that means that we have to pull out all the stops and also call on teachers to extend their contracts where possible,” says Dennis Wiersma, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education. “The House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) recently called for a full-time bonus, which we are going to work on by starting a trial right now.”
Dutch government hoping to provide a boost to education sector
The trial will be funded by the schools themselves, although the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will be available to offer guidance and support to those involved. Schools have until the end of the month to register to take part, and should the trial prove successful, the government hopes to implement it for the 2023 / 2024 academic year.
This is not the first step the government has taken in order to tackle the national shortage of teachers. Employees working in primary and secondary education have already seen their salaries increase by 4,75 percent this year, and received a one-off bonus of 500 euros.
Anyone who signs up for a higher education course to become a teacher will also benefit by seeing their tuition fees halved for the first two years of their study. This has already led to a significant increase in the number of students opting to pursue a career in education.