Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will speak to several youth organisations at Catshuis on Wednesday. The discussion will be on the impact of coronavirus on education and young people’s opportunities in the labour market. The student unions ISO and JOB, the student organisation LAKS, the television presenter Tim Hofman and the youth departments of FNV and CNV are represented, as well as the ministers Ingrid van Engelshoven (MBO and higher education), Arie Slob (secondary education) and Wouter Koolmees (social affairs and employment).
Participants speak rutte on behalf of a larger group, the Coalition-Y. These include, for example, the student union LSVb and youth departments of political parties.
Coalition-Y has a few demands. For example, the organization wants more students to be compensated for study delays due to coronavirus. Graduate students will receive a fee for the additional tuition they have to pay and for the additional scholarship they need longer, but this program does not apply to students who have to start their senior year after the summer and to students who are not yet at that time. “The internships have been closed, the lessons have failed, everyone has been delayed. Other students will have to make up for their delay in the near future, but the institutions must not yet open at full speed. Then you can’t go through the delay,” says LSVb chairman Lyle Muns.
The LSVb says the delay also means students will have to borrow more money. Muns: “Some people have debts of 40,000 to 50,000 euros after graduation, and when the economic crisis comes, it is the young people who are in trouble. They are burdened with debt for an entire generation. There are 750,000 students in the Netherlands. Not everyone becomes a doctor or a lawyer, including the teachers and nurses of the future.” Coalition-Y also wants flex workers to be supported for longer and for a national action plan to tackle youth unemployment to be launched, in which the government helps newly trained young people find a place in the labour market.
Rutte and the youth clubs plan to speak out a few more times after Wednesday. These include climate policy and the housing market.