Towards long-term resilience in the education system (Agenda 2015-2020/Working Programme 2016)

The Education Council has prepared an agenda for the coming five years. The central theme in this agenda is resilience of the education system. Changes in society, and the speed at which these changes unfold, present the education system with major challenges. The education system faces social trends, such as increasing use of technology, internationalisation and Europeanisation, ageing and hazing, a shrinking population and immigration, increased flexibility of the labour market, individualisation and decreasing social cohesion. These developments will require an education system that can continue to adjust to changing demands from society and that can put up resistance to undesirable developments and short‐lived hypes. The Education Council will also endeavour to maintain the necessary degree of stability in the education system, and its recommendations are always based on thorough analysis of the problems at hand.

In the coming years, the Education Council will be considering the issue of what criteria the education system has to meet in order to provide a stimulus for quality improvement and to create a space for innovation on the one hand, while at the same tie guaranteeing a coherent education offering that is of high-quality and accessible to all. The Education Council will also be assessing which parties have a role to play in these developments.

As an independent advisory body, the Education Council is a critical discussion partner of the government and the world of education. Our advisory reports are prepared based on consultations with education practitioners as well as on practical experience and academic studies. The Education Council always approaches topics with five aspects of public value in mind: 1) quality, 2) accessibility, 3) efficacy, 4) pluriformity and freedom of choice, and 5) social cohesion, inclusion and democracy within the school and society. The recommendations of the Education Council are always aimed at promoting these values.

The Education Council is working towards making an exploratory study of the entire education system. This exploratory study will be published at the end of the Council's current term (2018). In the run-up to this moment, the recommendations that the Education Council makes in the coming years will be embedded in programme lines. The 2015 -2020 agenda sets out five programme lines: 1) key tasks of education (content and tasks of education); 2) education professionals (the quality of the professionals in the education system and the conditions that will help them to provide their best work); 3) governance, organisation and funding (the institutional shaping of the education system); 4) education and society (the context in which the education system operates); and 5) education in a digital era.

In annual consultations with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the House of Representatives and the Senate, the 2015 -2020agenda is transposed to a work programme of concrete topics. The 2016 work programme includes the following topics for recommendations or exploratory studies: 1) Transition from an institution-centric to a pupil/student-centric model; 2) The changing role of municipalities in the field of education; 3) Alignment of the education system with the labour market; and 4) Education in the digital age. The Education Council will also make recommendations on the introduction of inclusive education ('passend onderwijs'). And, finally, for 2016 a number of legislative recommendations will be made.