Publications from 2015
The growth in private education provision and the intermingling of state and private provision are putting increasing pressure on the public character of Dutch education. The Education Council recommends that the government and schools step up the efforts to protect the public character of education, so that everything that is offered at a state-funded school is (freely) available to all students, whilst guaranteeing educational quality and the ability of education professionals to exert a degree of control.
Read the summery of the report Emphasising the public character of education
Make clear what must form part of education, and what is and is not permitted in terms of freedom of education; do this within the normative framework of the democratic society. That is the advice given by the Dutch Education Council on Article 23 of the Dutch Constitution in its report ‘Set limits, allow freedom’ (Grenzen stellen, ruimte laten).
Read the summary of the report Set limits, allow freedom
Every pupil must be given the opportunity to develop, learn and obtain a qualification to the utmost of their ability. That applies equally for gifted pupils, precocious and fast learners, as well as for children who do not learn so fast or so easily, and for late-bloomers. However, the early selection and external differentiation into different school types that characterise the Dutch education system are putting a strain on equal educational opportunity.
Read the summary of the report Select later, differentiate better
The education community has entered a long era of uncertainty in which developments are highly dynamic and unpredictable. As the pandemic enters a new stage, a more strategic and coherent way of conducting government policies is called for. The government’s responsibility for a well-functioning education as a whole should serve as a starting point. It is essential that the government keeps a close eye on what is happening within the educational field and which approaches and interventions turn out to be effective. Therefore, the government should initiate research and knowledge dissemination.
Read the summary of the report Good prospects for young generations
Advisory report regarding measures to overcome consequences of the coronavirus pandemic for educationApril 16 2020
The education system experiences unprecedented times. The Education Council stresses the need to focus attention on acute issues and to acknowledge that all else is of later concern. The Council also states the importance of having realistic expectations of schools; especially since schools already suffered from severe workloads and staff shortages before the pandemic and now face further challenges as staff gets ill or is under increased stress.
Read the summary of the report Measures to overcome consequences of the coronavirus pandemic for education
The Dutch education system is surrounded by a ‘shell’ of service-providers who support education in many different ways, for example teaching method developers, test developers, advisers, trainers, project leaders and researchers. These educational services, and the relationship between services, government and education practice, are currently changing. The government is looking to redefine its role and is keen to know how educational services can contribute to sustainable quality and innovation in education practice.
Read the report Pulling together for the school
Young people in the Netherlands are reading less and less often and with less and less enjoyment. This is leading to a decline in their reading skills. That in turn has an impact on their functioning at school and in society, and ultimately also on the functioning of Dutch society as a whole.
Read the summary of the report Let's read! A call for a reading offensive.
Dutch education faces greater challenges today than for many years. Social changes with lasting impact are demanding a great deal of education and also have consequences for the education system. To guide the thinking and discussion about necessary reforms, the Council has formulated five ‘starting points’, which bring together a number of the Council’s recommendations.
Read the summary of the report Disproportional differentiation in the Dutch education system
The Dutch Minister for Primary and Secondary Education and Media asked the Education Council to advise on the process of curriculum innovation. In formulating its advice, the Council examined how curriculum innovation can play a meaningful role in the quality of education. With this in mind, the Council focused on the following question: How can curriculum innovation be organised in such a way that it makes a lasting contribution to educational quality?
Read the summary of the report Curriculum Innovation.
The teaching profession is receiving much attention in the Netherlands at the moment, both from policymakers and in the media. That attention is justified, because teachers are crucial for good education. The profession is under pressure, however, partly due to growing shortages of teachers. The Dutch Parliament asked the Education Council of the Netherlands to investigate how changes to the training and employment structure might contribute to ensuring that there are sufficient, good-quality teachers.
Read the summary of the report Broadening the scope for teachers
The Dutch House of Representatives requested the Education Council to produce a report on the way in which the government currently funds education in the Netherlands and the mechanisms available to education establishments to account for their spending of these public funds. The request was prompted by discussions about funding amounts and the funding system, as well as about the efficiency and accountability of educational spending. In this report the Council makes recommendations on these four themes.
Read the summary of the report Accountability
School heads play a key role in the quality of education. Their role has changed over time, with the emphasis increasingly coming to lie on educational development and improvement and providing a good working and learning environment for teaching staff. Collaboration with parties outside the school has also become increasingly important. In their day-to-day practice, school heads are having to devote more attention to leadership and less time to managerial tasks. To be able to do this, school heads must be empowered to think and act strategically.
Read the summary of the report Empowering school heads.
Formally, Dutch municipalities play a limited role in education and their role has been restricted to a limited number of tasks set by Acts of Parliament. Education policies are a concern of central government together with more or less autonomous school boards. Most schools in the Netherlands are privately run and most schools run on behalf of public authorities have been removed from direct control by municipalities. In recent years, however, both local authorities and schools have acquired wider responsibilities regarding the raising and development of children and adolescents.
Read the summary of the report Bringing local and regional policies up-to-date.
The arguments in favour of student-centred education are not new. They are based on the premise that education should be more closely geared to the needs of individuals. The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has asked the Education Council of the Netherlands to provide a report on this topic. The main question addressed by the Council was: What does it mean to put the student at the centre of the educational process and where does this ambition encounter limits?
Read the summary of the report All about the student?
The non-stop development of information and communication technology (ICT) means that an increasing number of products and services are being delivered in digital form. Education is attempting to keep pace with these developments, but is still casting around to find the appropriate content, form and role. In many cases there is no clear vision of the relationship between education and ICT, resulting in wide variation in the way schools shape digitalisation and the extent to which they contribute to digital developments and innovations.
Read the summary of the report Thoughtful digitalisation.
Wars in various parts of the world have led to an increase in the number of refugees coming to the Netherlands in recent years. Their prospects of finding paid work and participating fully in Dutch society are poor. In this report, the Education Council of the Netherlands considers how education could provide more of a helping hand for refugees, with the primary focus on children and adults without a basic qualification.
Read the summary of the report Refugees and education.
Ensuring a good match between education and the labour market demands constant attention. Developments in society and on the labour market place heavy demands on people’s flexibility and learning ability. The position of people with a secondary-level education is particularly worrying in terms of their labour market position and their low participation in post-initial education. With this in mind, in this report the Council focuses on the ‘middle segment’, i.e. those with a senior secondary vocational (mbo) qualification level 2 or higher.
Read the summary of the report Craftmanship in continuous development.
The professional quality and expertise of teachers both creates and demands a certain professional space. This professional space does not come free of obligation or duty, but must at all times be geared to benefiting educational quality. Notwithstanding policy aimed at optimising this professional space, there are signs that it is being eroded by factors such as teachers’ sense of being under too much pressure of work and having too little say. The central question addressed in this report is therefore: How can an optimum professional space for teachers be created, utilised and justified?
Read the summary of the report A new perspective on professional space in education.
Children and adolescents are growing up in a globalising society. People increasingly encounter information in different languages and they meet people from foreign countries and from diverse backgrounds in their daily lives. Increasing numbers of people engage in social environments in which there are different expectations on how to behave. Events in one’s own town, village, or country can increasingly not be comprehended without knowledge of the world beyond.
Read the summary of the report Internationalising with ambition.
Tailored approaches within the statutory frameworks: final assessment as a benchmark for primary and secondary educationNovember 13 2015
The education system is increasingly expected to take account of the differences between school pupils. Schools and teachers can do this in very different ways. The approaches taken by primary and secondary schools must respect the statutory frameworks, which do allow a certain amount of variety. For instance, primary school pupils can perform their final assessments before the eighth school year, and secondary school pupils can sit exams in extra subjects, complete subjects one or two years earlier, or sit exams at a higher level for one or more subjects. In recent years, various proposals have been made to make more variety possible in final assessments.
Read the summary of the report Tailored approaches within the statutory frameworks: final assessment as a benchmark for primary and secondary education.
In recent decades, hard work has gone into improving the quality of higher education as well as the systems used to improve quality and enable quality assurance. Important examples of this include the further development of the accreditation system and the associated quality assessments, the introduction of the institutional review, agreement of performance targets with individual institutions, and the strengthening of the position of the examinations committee, study programme committee and the supervisory board in the design process of the quality assurance mechanism.
Read the summary of the report Quality in higher education.
Distinctive preparatory secondary vocal education (VMBO) with strong end-to-end learning pathwaysJune 19 2015
The position of preparatory secondary vocational education (VMBO) in the Dutch education system is at risk of being undermined. The decline in numbers of pupils makes it difficult to organise good quality education and there are concerns about the appeal of VMBO education. Its appeal suffers from its complex structure and its negative image. The following question was submitted by the Dutch House of Representatives: How can the position of VMBO education within the Dutch education system be strengthened?
Read the summary of the report Distinctive preparatory secondary vocational education (VMBO) with strong end-to-end learning pathways