Two MBO institutions with a total of 17,000 students in the province of Drenthe and the city of Doetinchem (Gelderland) express their dissatisfaction with the current actions in regional transport in a joint open letter.
A five-day work stoppage is currently underway for better working conditions in regional transport. According to employers, about half of the buses of regional transport companies are not running as a result. Trade union FNV disputes that figure and states that there is more dropout, especially in the east and south.
In an open letter (see below), two large MBO institutions crack down on the public transport campaigns. “The strike has a disproportionate effect on students in the region because alternative transport is simply not available. Stop doing that, the damage is too great, the yield in attention too small, is our plea.” The piece comes from administrators Michiel Gerlagh (Graafschap College) and Arwin Nimis (Drenthe College).
According to the administrators, MBO schools do everything they can to keep locations open, ‘so that they can serve every student within a manageable number of kilometers from his or her place of residence’. “There are already schools that drive buses. And teachers come up with creative solutions to allow education to continue despite the strikes. But that’s not the solution. The right to strike is a great asset, but these strikes in the region are not a solution.”
Anneke Velthuis, Manager Marketing & Communication at Graafschap College, says that education is currently being given both online and on location. “It depends: is it practical education or can it be done online easily? Education teams have room to determine that. We provide customization, if necessary.” According to her, no attempt was made in advance to stop the strike, for example through the courts. “That’s not our role.”
There are already schools that drive buses. And teachers come up with creative solutions to keep education going
Depends on local bus
One of the other regions hit hard by the strike is Limburg. There are normally a relatively large number of Arriva trains and many people depend on the regional bus. But education continues as usual, also for the 11,000 MBO students of the Gilde Opleidingen in Limburg. Several students already have a driver’s license and can arrange a car. Some teams of teachers are considering teaching online or are already doing so, according to a spokesperson.
The same sounds are heard at other school institutions. At Deltion College in Zwolle (Overijssel), they give ‘a number of lessons’ online, a spokeswoman said. “Our teaching teams have looked at where this is possible and appropriate. For example, it was assessed whether students come from far away and are dependent on public transport.” The amount of physical lessons that are canceled due to the strike differs per direction, according to the spokeswoman. Lessons are also being moved.
Parts of MBO education are affected by the actions, but according to a spokeswoman for the MBO Council, that depends very much on the region in which they are located. If part of the education is given online, this is not the case for the entire MBO, she emphasizes.
Number of lessons online at MBO institutions, ‘if appropriate’
A spokesperson for the umbrella organization of secondary education, the VO Council, says that secondary schools are affected by the actions to a limited extent and especially in certain areas. He is not aware of any transition to online classes. “Many parents are creative to get their children to school. They sleep a few nights with a friend who lives closer or carpool.”
Trade union director Marijn van der Gaag recently said about the consequences of the strikes: ,,I find it really annoying that we sometimes disadvantage vulnerable groups, I am thoroughly disappointed by that. But we are making legitimate use of our right of action. You only do that if you are really out of negotiations. Our drivers now have to choose for themselves, so that they can transport people in a healthy way again.
Open letter Graafschap College and Drenthe College
STOP STRIKES IN THE REGION
The MBO is on the rise. Nigel Sean makes the song ‘Ode aan het MBO’ and promptly makes the 8 o’clock news. Minister Dijkgraaf takes every opportunity to express his appreciation on TV for the craftsmanship that MBO produces. And in the meantime, every sane person realizes that the shortage of painters, technicians, hairdressers and cooks and hairdressers affects her or him on a daily basis. The shortages of good MBO students are getting bigger, with many students still experiencing the consequences of the corona time on a daily basis. And now they are also affected by strikes by regional transport. A strike that has a disproportionate effect on students in the region because alternative transport is simply not available.
‘Stop it, the damage is too great, the yield in attention too small….’ is our plea. Regional transport is essential in less populated areas now and in the future. MBO schools do everything they can to keep locations open so that they can serve every student within a manageable number of kilometers from his or her place of residence. Smaller groups are then necessary to keep training in the air. And more locations are needed. This results in extra costs, now and even more so in the future where shrinkage plays a greater role.
Training in the region simply costs more. Just like regional transport in rural areas. There are already schools that drive buses. And teachers come up with creative solutions to allow education to continue despite the strikes. But that’s not the solution. The right to strike is a great asset, but these strikes in the region are not a solution. That generates too little attention. Strike where it affects employers so that drivers and machinists can drive normally. For that MBO-er. For that craftswoman and craftsman of the future. Because they deserve it.
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