ABN AMRO Foundation provides ‘remote buddies’ to helps kids in primary school

Press release -

Last spring, over 150 of ABN AMRO’s people helped primary school pupils with their online language classes. Having received a favourable evaluation, the initiative will go into its second round this October. This is one of the initiatives that will be discussed during a 23 September webinar on the subject of fighting educational inequity.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit the Netherlands, every school and all their pupils were forced to suddenly adapt to remote schooling. Although the schools and the kids handled this enormous operation brilliantly, not all of them – schools and pupils both – started out from the same position.

Remote buddies

Director Ernst Boekhorst of the ABN AMRO Foundation explains, “We worked with youth education fund Jeugdeducatiefonds and counselling foundation Stichting Studiezalen to find ways to help, besides just supplying resources such as laptops. We also talked to the schools, and together we linked the bank’s volunteers with schoolkids, as ‘remote buddies’. These buddies can help with language, school and working on a laptop.” The initiative received favourable evaluations from the Maastricht University and from the schools that took part in the project. A second round of remote buddying is scheduled to start in October.

How remote buddying works

The primary schools and special coordinators are brought in to match ABN AMRO’s volunteers to the schools’ pupils. Stichting Studiezalen then trains the volunteers. During the four weeks that follow, the schoolkids and their buddies meet online twice weekly, to work on language, schoolwork and whatever else is on the student’s mind.

Fighting inequity

Director Hans Spekman of Jeugdeducatiefonds adds, “Inequity between children was a pre-existing problem that the coronavirus pandemic, as everybody knows, has done nothing to diminish. This initiative is a wonderful example of how the business community can help to fight educational inequity, and I hope that other organisations join in.”

Webinar on 23 September

On Wednesday, 23 September, Jeugdeducatiefonds and ABN AMRO Foundation will host a webinar where they will discuss the results of a study into five possible forms of intervention to fight educational inequity. Visit ABN AMRO’s website for further details and to sign up for the webinar.

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