Improved transitions in the education system

Too many pupils drop out from school early and too few go on to higher education. To tackle this issue, the Education Council calls for improvements in educational programmes and for better guidance at transition points. Pupils also need to do more themselves. 

1 December 2005
There are many transition points in a person's educational career: from primary to secondary education, and then on to secondary vocational or higher education, for instance. These transitions are not always smooth, and this can cause a person's school career to stagnate. The Education Council was asked by the Minister to examine what the obstacles are, what schools are currently doing about them, and what other improvements would be possible.

Provide end-to-end learning pathways
The system needs to provide pupils and students with end-to-end learning pathways. Doing this requires closer cooperation between schools, parents and local authorities. It also requires flexibility in the funding system to cross the boundaries between programmes and sectors.

Encourage extra learning periods
The Education Council recommends easing up on strict academic years and programme durations in order to make it easier to transfer. We advocate the introduction of extra learning periods, as well as the ‘stacking' of programmes in cases where it benefits the pupils. The Education Council would like to see greater acceptance of repeating a year, because simply sidelining pupils who perform below their expected standard into lower-level educational alternatives ultimately undermines participation in higher education. Other recommendations made by the Education Council include introducing differentiation based on learning rates and setting up summer and weekend schools.

Long-term and short-term career guidance
Programmes and sectors need to work closer together, for instance by developing career analysis and career guidance services for pupils. A pupil profile, including their strengths and weaknesses, should be available for each pupil and should be continually updated. This profile is intended as a complement to ongoing school guidance, and is important for the bond between pupils and schools. Recommended resources include: personal interviews and guidance, digital portfolios, and digital pupil dossiers. The Education Council also recommended increasing the say of parents and pupils at decision points in order to increase their engagement.