The preparations are in full swing, says president Lyle Muns from the Dutch Student Union. Nine hundred registrations have already been received for the demonstration in The Hague “and they are still flooding in”.
Buses will travel from Amsterdam and Groningen, and perhaps a few more cities. Some MPs are also coming, says Muns, although he won’t mention any names now. Several political youth organisations are joining in. Students can also come along without registering.
The demonstration is part of the #nietmijnschuld (not my debt) campaign organised by LSVb and FNV Young & United. The aim: a good basic grant and compensation for students in the current student loan system. With a small part-time job as well, in future they feel it should be possible to study ‘debt free’.
Prominently absent from Thursday’s student demonstration is the Dutch National Student Association (ISO). “I would love to have had them along too,” says Muns. He doesn’t want to focus on the differences. “Really, there are lots more similarities than differences. We both want a basic grant and compensation for students with student loans, and we both want to avoid that money coming out of the education budget.”
So why isn’t the ISO joining in? “We have a different idea about what should happen,” says president Dahran Çoban. “The demonstration is being organised separately from us. We have our own ideas, which we will announce soon.”
Protest in Rotterdam: ‘What do we want? To be debt-free!’
Some thirty students joined a protest march against student loans in Rotterdam on…
The difference? The two student organisations have different ideas about study financing. The ISO is currently working on an alternative based on Nibud research. The main difference is the role of the supplementary grant, says Çoban.
She also wants to prevent the ISO and LSVb being pitted against each other. “We both want a better situation for students, the differences aren’t very big. But the ISO is not involved in the #nietmijnschuld campaign. We have our own ideas.”
Those ideas will be announced next month, she says. Until then, she won’t comment further. The grant must at least cover study costs, tuition fees and some of the rent for accommodation.
Following the resignation of the current cabinet, Mariëtte Hamer is exploring the options for a new cabinet. Her report is expected soon.