Issue #023 Published: 16-04-2019 // Written by: Iris Kok

WOinActie: A follow-up

After the protest on the 14th of December, there were almost no news about it to be found except a small article in Dutch on the NOS news website, stating that there were no concrete results achieved but a national movement was founded and an invitation to speak with the minister of education, culture and science. It was disappointing to see that this protest was not taken seriously -  by not only the government, but also by the Dutch public and the media in general.   

Ingrid van Engelshoven, who is the the minister of education, culture and science, has not responded officially during the protest, when we stood outside the building from the ministry and we waited for her to come out and accept the ‘red square’. This red square was offered to her to wear, since this is our sign. Not only because it stands as a symbol of the debt students are in, but also because the basisbeurs (the money students used to receive from the government and was turned into a gift if a students graduated within 10 years) from the studiefinanciering is now a loan - and not a gift anymore.

Apparently, she reacted only after the protest, agreeing to let a meeting be planned. This meeting was a meeting planned with the organisation from WOinActie and other organisation that are behind the movement. This conversation between WOinActie and her has not led to any desired outcome. In fact, from the  11th until the 15th of March, there will be a whole week of protests against the budget cuts in the education system. This week of protest will end on Friday the 15th of March with a protest again in The Hague at the Malieveld. Everyone is welcome to join the protest, and bring along more people, so that we can make a statement against the Dutch Government.

A big difference this time around will be, I hope, that this protest does get the attention and visibility it deserves. In addition to that, this time the protest is not only about WoinActie but also POinActie, focusing on the situation of teachers from primary schools, and VOinActie which is concerned with teachers from high schools. These three groups represent a much bigger movement from within the education-sector, and they all share the same problems and demands, which they will attempt to make heard during this planned week of protest in the Hague. Since there are more and more students attending schools and universities, funding gets tighter every year and we are still dealing with more and more budget cuts. To recap, the shared demands include an extra 4 billion Euros in investments for the education system on the whole, as well as the cancellation of the so-called ‘doelmatigheidskorting’, which is a measure to cut back the budget by 183 million Euros, starting from 2021.

For the WoinActie protest week, its founding figure Rens Bod has already spoken about some of the plans for this week, such as the need to think about the ‘hotshot figures’, who will come to make speeches about their respective fields of research, explaining what they can or in fact cannot do in the future -  since there is not enough money for it.   

You can still show your support, by signing the petition:   

Photo: Kim Pieper