The CDA and ChristenUnie do not seem to be convinced yet of a new law that would give the education minister greater powers to intervene in the event of abuses in educational institutions. On Thursday, a bill that would make that possible was discussed.
In the coalition agreement, agreements were made about stricter interventions in educational institutions with bad intentions. However, an earlier bill was criticized by the Council of State (RvS), after which the Cabinet had to return to the drawing board. It now appears that the original bill has been sent to the House of Representatives. To CDA and ChristenUnie’s disbelief, criticism of RvS was not taken seriously.
The new law expands the definition of “mismanagement” in educational institutions. This allows the Minister to intervene if the quality of education is deficient according to the Education Inspectorate. Under current law, for example, a minister can intervene in financial mismanagement only if education money is spent on things not intended for it. The new law also ensures that the inspectorate and the minister can intervene more quickly.
Member of Parliament Steinke van der Graaf (ChristenUnie) wonders how relative and necessary the new law is. RvS has previously leveled this criticism. Van der Graaf therefore wonders why Minister Denis Wirsma (Education) would like to expand his powers.
CDA MP René Peters is also important. For example, on the advice of the State Council, the motion was modified so that the minister would intervene only if there were “serious doubts”. In the bill now before us, “reasonable doubts” suffice. Peters fears the law will lead to “event politics,” in which the House can demand action from the Cabinet if problems arise in schools.
Minister Wersma seemed unable to convince both deputies of his answers. According to Wiersma, a “decisive instrument” is needed, in which the words “serious” and “reasonable” are legally quite different. But he stressed that the law is not resorted to except in extreme cases, after the inspection report.
Debate over the bill did not end on Thursday, but is likely to resume before the summer.
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