Low-income parents to get extra aid for school tuition

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Jet Bussemaker (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons). (Jet Bussemaker (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons))

Education Minister Jet Bussemaker is making 5 million euros available for financial aid to families who have to choose which vocational program their child will follow based on how much it costs rather than what the child is interested in, the Volkskrant reports.

For one third of parents, tuition costs play part in their child's study direction. These children therefore often take a cheaper program or attend a school closer to home, according a study by the Ministry of Education.

Bussemaker called these results "alarming". "It is unacceptable that the level of school fees determines the choice of further education", she said to the newspaper. "That choice must be made based on talent and the motivation of the pupil."

She therefore decided to make an extra 5 million euros available this autumn for a temporary contribution to school costs for parents with low-incomes and minor children following vocational programs. The compensation is intended for 16- and 17-year-old children in vocational schools and will only be available for this year.

"Education in the Netherlands must provide the same opportunities to all children", Bussemaker said. "The parents' income must not play a role."