The cabinet’s caretaker status made for a Throne Speech that was light on new policy announcements. Education and research were no exception.
But the King did address a number of important topics, such as equal opportunity. “Not every child gets the same opportunities to build a good future, and not everyone who lives in this country feels heard and seen”, he said. “People still face discrimination and racist exclusion in our society.”
‘Democracy is about much more than casting your vote’
Later in the speech, the King noted that “good education is crucial to a secure existence with equal opportunities”. Language and maths are to receive more attention, vocational education will get more recognition, the basic student grant is back and, the King added: “The government supports young researchers and teachers, encouraging both practical and scientific research at higher education institutions.”
Mental health issues
The mental health issues many young people are dealing with were also discussed. “We see more and more young people struggling with mental health problems, such as depression and loneliness”, the King said. “Therefore, the cabinet is working together with young people to find solutions, for example by making the subject easier to discuss and focusing on performance pressure in schools and universities.”
And what about migration? Important choices need to be made in that area, the speech states, “for example on work- and study-related migration”.
In light of the cabinet’s resignation, a passage on democracy also stood out. “Democracy is about much more than casting your vote – it is an attitude. It is a willingness to listen, to understand other points of view and to carefully navigate different interests.”
HOP, Bas Belleman