It is up to schools to decide what they do with government money for educational innovation. They usually spend it on improvements aimed at gathering knowledge. The Education Council would like to see the Minister encourage schools to also spend it on their ‘socialisation function'.
19 November 2007
First and foremost, pupils are taught the basics of language and arithmetic, specifically: Dutch and maths. They are then introduced to other fields of knowledge, such as biology or technology. These subjects are not just about gaining knowledge, but are also about becoming familiar with the social aspects of a professional community. Educational improvements should therefore not just focus on knowledge, but also on social aspects.
Education has three primary functions: qualification (knowledge and skills), selection (allocation to a place in society) and socialisation (citizenship). Funding made available by central government for innovation largely goes to the first two functions: qualification and selection. A lot is invested in teaching methods, the continuity of learning paths, innovation in the lower years of secondary education, forming core teams and thematic areas such as sport, culture and technology. The Education Council believes this is a good development, but would like to see schools encouraged to also spend these extra resources on the socialisation function. The government should establish a basic standard for all three functions.
To strengthen the socialisation function, the Minister should earmark some of the innovation funding. The money could be spent on social voluntary work, for instance. Better use could be made of this by allowing young people to get a feel for the commercial sector and technical professions. There are also other examples of innovative educational practices that strengthen the socialisation function: from music lessons given by members of the local brass band to the ‘network school', where some of the teaching takes place outside the school (in the local supermarket, for example).
The Education Council would like to see more emphasis on performance when allocating innovation funding, and less on process-related aspects such as transferability and cooperation. The Education Council is an advocate of simple performance agreements.