Between 350 and 400 Dutch-speaking primary schools will start the new academic year on 1 September without having received the workbooks used in the classroom.
The problem lies with Cloudwise, a Dutch company based in Woerden between Leiden and Utrecht. Cloudwise took over the contract to supply the books this year for the first time from Standaard Boekhandel.
But now the company is blaming the delay on what it calls ‘data and transfer problems,’ despite its website trumpeting its expertise in data and educational apps.
“Unfortunately, the delay is due to our logistics partner and subcontractor who is responsible for the receipt, processing and delivery of all textbooks from different publishers,” Cloudwise director Philip Vermeylen told the VRT.
“We are doing everything we can to make our partner deploy more resources and manpower. If necessary, through legal means.”
The workbooks are intended to ensure children across the system receive the same standardised education in preparation for examinations.
But not all subjects are treated that way. Classes in the school system usually split for religious or secular classes, while in the Catholic system there are classes, for instance, in preparation for First Communion.
The Catholic network, meanwhile, is not happy with the situation.
“It is a very unpleasant and unacceptable situation for our schools,” said Pieter-Jan Crombez, spokesperson for Catholic Education Flanders.
“Despite promises, the company cannot meet the requirements of the framework agreement acquired from Standaard Boekhandel. “This is of course a serious problem that makes further cooperation difficult.”