Two weeks’ extra work in the holiday is better than repeating a whole school year – this radical new educational theory is today’s top story. Unemployment is rising – to pre-crisis levels – we hear from the serious dailies. And burglary is on the rise too, we hear from a horrified AD.
But some things just never change: Geert Wilders is still bashing Brussels, and the Netherlands isn’t in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Reviewed Dutch dailies
Here’s an idea. If kids start falling behind at school, give them some extra help. And if they’re really not doing well, have them do some extra school in the summer holidays. That way they won’t need to repeat the whole year. In fact, the concept of repeating a whole school year could be abolished altogether. This cunning plan has been dreamt up by trade union CNV Education.
De Telegraaf actually broke the story on Thursday, but today it’s all over the papers. Because everyone thinks it’s a great idea. The children, the parents, the teachers, the experts, even the pupil’s union LAKS, as Trouw reports.
Repeating a year is common in the Netherlands – 22 percent of all 15-year-olds have done it at some point, says AD. And nobody likes it. A couple of extra weeks of school in the summer would be loads better than a whole year, says sixteen-year-old Ravi, currently repeating his fourth year of secondary school. What’s more, bored kids in déjà vu lessons spoil the atmosphere for the whole class, says Trouw. There’s not even any evidence that repeating a year actually helps. And the threat of losing summer holiday time will probably motivate kids even more than the idea of staying in the same class, CNV boss Michel Rog tells de Volkskrant.
So if it’s such a fantastic proposal, De Telegraaf wonders, “The question is why the tens of thousands of teachers and civil servants didn’t come up with the idea before. They’re the experts, aren’t they?”
6.2 percent unemployment – is that bad?
“Explosion of young unemployed.” It’s Trouw’s lead, and de Volkskrant is worried too. Unemployment reached 6.2 percent in April, the paper reports – 489,000 people in total. For the first time in ages, the number of available jobs has fallen.
The young and the old are suffering most, says Trouw. What’s more, the true figures may be higher, because the number of self-employed people has gone up, and some of them are probably only in that position because they can’t get a job.
So how bad is 6.2 percent, really? “In Dutch terms 6.2 percent is high, but not from an international perspective,” a statistics office spokesman tells de Volkskrant. And after all, unemployment is now at the same level as it was in December 2005, long before the days of collapsing financial systems, towering budget deficits and gloomy recessions.
According to the “AD crime meter”, which is to be published on Saturday, there are 175 break-ins a day in the Netherlands. The number of burglaries a year has gone up by 10,000 a year since 2007. And now the police are launching a major anti-burglary offensive. About time too, the paper comments.
In the inside pages, AD gives Police Chief Frans Heeres a grilling. It’s a myth that Eastern European burglars have been pushing up the figures, he says. Most burglars are Dutch. And it’s also not true that the police can’t be bothered with break-ins, he assures the paper. But people have to do something about it themselves too – like putting decent locks on their doors, for instance.
AD agrees. However, “It must never be an excuse to give break-ins less priority or to claim that people are bringing it on themselves. That would be capitulating to the criminals.”
Anyway, to sum up AD’s solution: people should lock their doors and police should try and catch crooks. Thanks AD.
Geert Wilders’ keeping up anti-EU tradition
More today on Geert Wilder’s single-handed campaign to bring Brussels to its knees. For the eighth time in three days, Mr Wilders demanded a vote in the Lower House on Thursday on Dutch participation in the European Stability Mechanism, de Volkskrant reports.
“I think it’s actually a nice tradition, Mr Wilders,” responded speaker Gerdi Verbeet. “Keep it up, I’d say.” The MPs hands went up, with the same result as in the other seven votes: 100 in favour of Europe, 50 against.
Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party and Emile Roemer’s Socialist Party are raring to make Europe the big issue of the election, says de Volkskrant. Mr Wilders wants the Netherlands out of the euro and the EU – “even the Eurosceptic Socialist Party doesn’t go that far,” the paper says. He’s got every expectation Dutch voters will go for his anti-Europe ticket, we hear in AD: “We’re going to win these elections splendidly.”
The ESM is a “40-billion-euro blank cheque of Dutch taxpayers’ money” according to Mr Wilders. Nrc.next analyses the claim in its regular ‘next.checks’ feature. Conclusion: “you can’t write a blank cheque for 40 billion euros”. Aha, indeed, logical. “But it is true that the Netherlands has promised 40 billion euros to the ESM rescue fund. All in all next.checks judges the claim to be half true.”
A girl with a guitar in an oversized feathery headdress makes the front pages of the popular dailies this morning. It’s the annually recurring news that the Netherlands has failed to make the final of the Eurovision song contest. This year apparently 22-year-old Joan Franka messed up her performance and sang out of tune. The BBC had one word for her song, says De Telegraaf: “rubbish”.
In de Volkskrant the news gets no more than a disdainful single paragraph straight from the news agency. Meanwhile, De Telegraaf has a blow-by-blow account, with stats from the past and quotes from celebs. There were high hopes that Joan Franka would get through this year, but her nervous dud notes have once again sent the Netherlands back to the drawing board.
Nrc.next’s version of the story sounds a discordant note of a different kind. Azerbaijan threw 20,000 people out of their homes so the Baku coastline could have a makeover, the paper reports. For the opposition in the country, the contest has provided a platform to draw attention to human rights abuses and a lack of democracy. But they’re expecting a backlash. “The president is very angry that we’re spoiling his party,” columnist Natiq Adilov tells AD. “When the Westerners have gone, then the retaliation will come.”