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Netherlands:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

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Overview Netherlands


Netherlands:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Netherlands:Historical Development

Netherlands:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Netherlands:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Netherlands:Political and Economic Situation

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Netherlands:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Netherlands:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Netherlands:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Netherlands:Organisation of Private Education

Netherlands:National Qualifications Framework

Netherlands:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Netherlands:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Netherlands:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Netherlands:Funding in Education

Netherlands:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Netherlands:Higher Education Funding

Netherlands:Adult Education and Training Funding

Netherlands:Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Organisation of Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Assessment in Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Primary Education

Netherlands:Organisation of Primary Education

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Netherlands:Assessment in Primary Education

Netherlands:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Netherlands:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Netherlands:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Netherlands:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Netherlands:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Netherlands:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Netherlands:Organisation of Vocational Secondary Education (MBO)

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Secondary Education (MBO)

Netherlands:Assessment in Vocational Secondary Education (MBO)

Netherlands:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Netherlands:Higher Education

Netherlands:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Netherlands:First Cycle Programmes


Netherlands:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Netherlands:Second Cycle Programmes

Netherlands:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Netherlands:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Netherlands:Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Distribution of Responsibilities

Netherlands:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Netherlands:Main Providers

Netherlands:Main Types of Provision

Netherlands:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Netherlands:Teachers and Education Staff

Netherlands:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Netherlands:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Netherlands:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Netherlands:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Management and Other Education Staff

Netherlands:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Netherlands:Management Staff for Higher Education

Netherlands:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Netherlands:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Quality Assurance

Netherlands:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Netherlands:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Educational Support and Guidance

Netherlands:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Netherlands:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Netherlands:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Netherlands:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Netherlands:Mobility and Internationalisation

Netherlands:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Mobility in Higher Education

Netherlands:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Netherlands:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Netherlands:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Netherlands:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:National Reforms in School Education

Netherlands:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Netherlands:National Reforms in Higher Education

Netherlands:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Netherlands:European Perspective







Senate agrees with intervene in extreme manifestations educational administrator

News item, March 2017

The Minister of Education is allowed to intervene when a representative of an education institution makes discriminatory statements or who are against the fundaments of the law. The Upper House agreed with the legislative proposal of the Minister of Education who takes care of this. The law would make it possible to intervene in an institution who are not sponsored by the government, such as the Islamic University of Rotterdam.

The Committee

An independent committee of experts will advise on the casus before the Minister will intervene. The intervention can lead to the prevention of the institution from providing college degrees (such as bachelor or master- degree). The committee needs to be determined by law. Names and degrees This proposal protects names and degrees so that educational institutions cannot abuse their institution name (university or university of applied sciences) and mislead students, if they do so they can be punished.

Names and degrees

This proposal protects names and degrees so that educational institutions cannot abuse their institution name (university or university of applied sciences) and mislead students, if they do so they can be punished.

Register of Teachers approved by the Senate

News item, February 2017

In February the Senate approved the Teaching Profession and Register of Teachers Act. This Act gives teachers more say in how they practise their profession. As of 1 August 2018 teachers will have their own professional register, like doctors, lawyers and nurses. Teachers themselves will decide on the requirements to be met by the register.


  • Only qualified teachers will be enrolled in the Register of Teachers.
  • Teachers enter their in-service training in the online register, showing that they are keeping their knowledge and skills up-to-date. After qualifying, it is important for teachers to continue with their professional development.
  • The profession is responsible for the design and content of the register, for example the training requirements teachers need to meet.
  • Enrolment in the register is reviewed every four years, and can be prolonged if the teacher meets the criteria set by the profession.
  • The names of teachers who fail to meet the criteria are flagged, but this marker is withdrawn if they can show that their skills are up-to-date again.
  • Teachers who have not yet qualified are enrolled in the register’s waiting list.

Register for teachers by teachers

To ensure due care is taken with its introduction, the Register of Teachers will not come into operation until 1 August 2018. The Teaching Profession and Register of Teachers Act protects the teaching profession. It also puts the professional remit and the rights of teachers to professional development on a statutory footing. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science developed the Act in close consultation with the Teachers’ Forum (Onderwijscoöperatie), which represents the profession and comprises representatives of the following unions and associations of teachers: Algemene Onderwijsbond, CNV Onderwijs, Federatie van Onderwijsvakorganisaties and Platform Vakinhoudelijke Verenigingen Voorgezet Onderwijs.

Bill for better protection of pupils’ privacy

News item, February 2017

The Cabinet has approved a bill submitted by education minister Jet Bussemaker and state secretary Sander Dekker on safeguarding pupils’ privacy. By inputting pseudonyms, schools will share fewer personal details with the providers of digital teaching aids.

Schools are using more and more digital teaching aids. Apps enable pupils to learn arithmetic or check their spelling. To function properly, the apps need pupils’ personal data – name, class, school and level attained in reading or arithmetic, for example. This information is stored in the cloud.

Up to now, schools have had to share a relatively large quantity of personal data with companies in order to use digital teaching aids or access online teaching packs. This is undesirable, given the risk that the data will be hacked or leaked. By inputting a pseudonym in the form of a code, it will be possible to minimise the amount of information provided. For example, the date of birth and sex of a pupil will no longer need to be shared.

  • More than 130 parties, including companies, schools and education councils, have already signed a voluntary agreement on measures to protect pupils’ privacy. This has significantly reduced the amount of personal data to be shared.
  • The new legislation will apply to primary schools, secondary schools and schools for secondary vocational education (MBO), and will probably enter into force in January 2018. The parties to the voluntary agreement have all indicated that they plan to start working with pseudonyms as soon as possible.

The Cabinet has agreed to send the bill to the Council of State for an advisory opinion. The text of the bill and of the Council of State’s recommendations will both become public when the bill is submitted to the House of Representatives.

Record number of outstanding schools in the Netherlands

News item, January 2017 From today, the Netherlands has a record number of outstanding schools. Another 54 schools will be told today that they have been officially designated as outstanding. This will bring the total number of outstanding schools in the Netherlands to 184.

The primary sector has the highest number of outstanding schools (69). But pre-vocational education (VMBO) departments are also doing well, with 34 designated as outstanding. The league table also includes 22 special schools, 22 senior general secondary education (HAVO) departments, 24 pre-university education (VWO) departments or schools and 13 practical training departments.


Stricter conditions for exemption from compulsory school attendance

News item, December 2016

Before municipalities can exempt children with disabilities from compulsory school attendance, they will first have to consult the consortium of schools in the region. State secretary for education Sander Dekker plans to amend the Compulsory Education Act to this effect. His aim is for more children with disabilities to receive some form of education.

  •  In some regions, consultations with school consortiums already take place on a voluntary basis. Now they will be compulsory.
  • Mr Dekker is also planning to work with the health ministry to increase doctors’ awareness of the different forms of schooling available to children with disabilities. For example, a child who is unable to attend lessons in a mainstream class, could be taught in a small group or partly from home. Doctors need to know what is possible in order to make the correct assessment.

In recent years, an increasing number of children have been exempted from attending school under section 5a of the Compulsory Education Act, which stipulates that children with severe intellectual or physical disabilities do not need to attend school. In the past five years, however, exemptions have risen by more than 75% – from 3,100 in the 2010/2011 school year to over 5,500 in 2015/2016.

The state secretary is concerned about the rising number of children exempted from attending school and had already asked municipalities to look into the matter. Their widespread response in the form of more effective registration may partly explain the sharp increase in exemptions. For a number of these children, the reason why they are not required to attend school is abundantly clear: their disabilities are so severe that they are housed in care institutions. Municipalities are not required to offer learning programmes for this group.

School leaders receive time for master programme

News item, October 2016

School leaders in primary education receive more time to study. State secretary Dekker of Education makes the coming years €40 million (2017-2022) available so that school leaders can be replaced when they attend college. 

Now, school leaders already receive money for their professionalization, from the CAO-agreements. However, there seemed too often that a course is cancelled or consumes a lot of time, because there is no replacement. The expectation is that on yearly basis 250 school leaders make use of the grant.

State secretary Dekker is committed to the professionalization of school leaders for some time already. Therefore, he started the Nationale Schoolleiders Top (national school leaders top), along with the Algemene Vereniging van Schoolleiders (General Foundation for School leaders), the PO-council (primary education), Schoolleidersregister PO (register for school leaders in primary education) and NL2025, a platform of inter alia entrepreneurs, athletes, scientists and artists who are working for a better future for the Netherlands (all websites are only available in Dutch).

Last year, school leaders from secondary education were at turn, this time it is the turn for school leaders in primary education.

  • School leaders can participate in the months after the top to regional gatherings, who are organised through AVS (in Dutch: Algemene School Vereniging).
  • Through these gatherings, school leaders can continue to support each other in achieving their ambitions.
  • Hereby, it is the intentions that participation will be designated as formal learning so that school leaders can use this for re-registration in the register for school leaders. 

Minister takes measures against discrimination in internships

News item, September 2016

Training companies who discriminate get away with it too easily. Dutch Minister Bussemaker finds internship discrimination unacceptable and announces measures.

It appears that young migrants need to make a greater effort to find an internship placement then native peers, according to a research of the Kennisplatform Integratie en Samenleving (KIS: Expertise Platform in Integration and Society; website only available in Dutch). The discrimination is not always deliberate and focusses mainly on girls wearing a headscarf and young people of which employers think they are ‘risky’.

Students and schools often choose to avoid discrimination instead of contesting it. They rather search for another internship placement, for example at an immigrant employer, rather than raising the subject, according KIS.

Bussemaker wants to increase the willingness to address internship discrimination.

  • This is done by raising awareness of discrimination for students and teachers through trainings and guidelines measures.
  • As of this school year, courses will start in 5 cities where MBO students (vocational education) and personnel learn to identify discrimination.
  • Furthermore, the Minister wants that exploring or anonymous applying as part in tackling workplace discrimination, to contribute to an inclusive labour market.

Company visits

Once immigrant young people find an internship placement, it appears that the chance of entering into service at an employer is just a high as for native MBO students.

  • Therefore Minister Bussemaker makes a budget available to start a pilot in 2017 with flash trainings and company visits, so that young people and employers can learn to know each other at an early stage.
  • Furthermore, in September 2016 a project is started at a number of educational institutions in which introduce MBO students (level 4) can introduce new MBO interns (level 2) in a good way and coach them at training companies.

Now it is already regulated that companies who discriminate can lose the status of a training company. These companies can no longer make use of interns.

Millions made available for illiteracy

News item, September 2016

Dutch minister Bussemaker (education) is making 5 million euro available for regional initiatives to combat low literacy and for language training for employees with  low literacy skills.

The Minister has announced this in an educational video which will go online on the occasion of the Week of the Literacy. Approachable initiatives are able to receive funding to a maximum of 50.000 euro if they organize concrete activities to prevent or combat low literacy. A precondition for the grant is that the applicant deposits one third of the amount requested.

Even employers can make claims to the grant up to a maximum of 50.000 euro for language programmes for so-called employees with ‘’low language skills’’. More than half of the illiterate people in the Netherlands are working, but this group is due to their limited language skills, less productive and has fewer opportunities to grow in their profession.

With the grant scheme, minister Bussemaker wants to make a new contribution in the fight against illiteracy.

This year, the government invests over 74 million euro to prevent and combat illiteracy. For the first time, the government sets concrete goals: in the period of 2016-2018, 45.000 adults have to start a language training. In addition, 15.000 people have to be reached and 5000 new language volunteers must be trained amongst others to get rid of waiting lists. After 6 months in 2016, the counter stood at 12.380 reached people and 4700 new language volunteers.

Minister: invest in equal opportunities 

News item, September 2016

Dutch minister Bussemaker (education) is taking steps to guarantee that children of lower educated parents will have the same opportunities as children of parents with higher levels of education. Investments are being made to smoothen the transition from intermediate vocational education to higher education, students will no longer have to pay for selection procedures and a ‘Comenius scholarship’ focusing on equal opportunities will become available for teachers in higher education.

Smaller step between intermediate vocational education to higher education
The transition between intermediate vocational and higher education is often too big for the students. In order to smoothen the transition the minister will invest 7.5 million, making continuing to study at an institution of higher education more easy.
On paper, a lot has been done already, but still many students drop out. Therefore,  the minister decided to invite students to discuss the problems amongst each other and come up with possible solutions that they can present to the minister herself. In order to facilitate this process they will be supported by students who have made the transition between the two levels of education before. 
Half of the 7.5 million  the Minister intends to invest will be available for plans send in by the students. The other half will be used for plans from the institutions, who are also being challenged to come up with possible solutions together.

No more selection fees
The second measure that is being taken is abolition of fees for the selection procedure in higher education to make sure these costs are no longer restricting students in their choice of study. In higher education some institutions are allowed to select which students they allow to follow a certain course. This can be very valuable, both for the student and for the institution. However the Minister asks for special attention to be paid to the fact that these selection procedures do not harm the chances of a certain group of students. The selection fees that are being requested can be as high as 225 euro. This will no longer be allowed. Some institutions will be compensated for the losses due to this new measure.

Innovation in education for equal opportunities
Good and solid education should be the first priority of universities higher education institutions. The Minister announces during the opening of the academic year that teachers in higher education can submit an application for the first 10 Comenius scholarships of 50.000 euro. These scholarships will provide an impulse to innovation in higher education. According to the minister the scholarships will be awarded to teachers who foster and promote equal opportunities and ‘inclusive education’  through innovation in education.

Toward 100% competent teachers in secondary education

News item June 2016

In 2014, pupils at secondary schools have almost always had lessons of a competent teacher. From the lessons given, a small 95% was taught by a competent teacher or a teacher in training. The figures are drawn out in the latest integral IPTO 2014 (only in Dutch available) (measuring qualified staff in the education field). In the coming period, Dutch state secretary, Mr. Dekker, is dedicated to achieve 100% lessons by competent teachers.

Differences between regions, subjects and types of education
The research shows that the differences per region, subject and type of education are significant. At  VWO (pre-university education), almost 97% of the lessons are given by a competent teacher or a teacher in training. At HAVO (Senior General Secondary Education), the percentage is 96,5% and at VMBO (Lower Vocational Education) 91,6%.

Every teacher a competent teacher
In the National Education Agreement, Dutch minister Bussemaker and state secretary Dekker have agreed with social partners in the education field that from 2017 onwards each educator should be competent. Finally, the Education Inspectorate will research 200 departments in 2016 and 2017 to determine whether the management board complies with the legal eligibility conditions.

The aim is that in 2017 all teachers are registered in Register of Teachers. Only competent teachers can register themselves. With an registration in the Register of Teachers, teachers can show their professional qualifications and keep up of the latest developments in their specialization.

Dutch minister Bussemaker of Education presents 200th promotion scholarship for teachers

News item June 2016

What kind of influence does English language offer have on the language development of children? Which effect does mindfulness have on employees? These are two of the thirty subjects where talented teachers will conduct doctoral research for in the coming years.

228 scholarships

The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science makes annually €9,5 million available for the promotion programs. With the scholarship, teachers have the opportunity to develop themselves further and to strengthen the transition between universities and schools. Most scholarship applications are submitted for research in the alfa, and gamma field. The majority of applicants are teachers from secondary education and HBO (higher professional education/universities of applied sciences). The promotion scholarships started in 2011, the promotions of the first round are expected this year. In total, 228 scholarships were awarded.

Promotion scholarship for teachers

Teachers who wish to be eligible for a promotion scholarship have to find a promoter at a Dutch university and hand in a research plan at the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. There is a free choice for a research subject and it can be aimed for the alfa, beta, gamma and life sciences. It is important for the research that the acquired knowledge and research experience benefits both science and the teaching practice. Teachers who are admitted will be exempted  from education for a period of 5 years maximum of 0.4fte per year to work on their research with full-pay.

More than 290 million euro for schools in earthquake zone

News item June 2016

An amount of 290,5 million will be made available for strengthening and constructing schools in the earthquake zone in the northern province of the Netherlands, Groningen.  This is mostly an extra investment on top of the previous funding made available to tackle earth quake problems and to enhance the security, quality of life and the economic activity.

The Spring Memorandum 2016 has made 284 million euro available and in the governments agreements of 2014 and 2015, 1,2 milliard was made available. 

Strong and future-proof schools
At request of the Dutch government, the National Coordinator Groningen (NCG only in Dutch available) has inventoried how much funding will be needed in the coming years to not only strengthen school buildings, but also to make them future-proof.

The inventory of the NCG concluded that the construction of 101 schools should be strengthened. In consultation with school boards, municipalities, the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (Dutch petroleum association - NAM) and the ministries of economic affairs and  education are committed to strengthen 41 schools. In addition 60 school buildings will be extracted  from their educational function. Instead there will come 29 new school buildings, in which sometimes one school or in other instances several schools will be placed under one roof.

Since the schools program is primarily  a response by earthquake-problems, NAM will invest 172,5 million euro in the schooling program. The nine concerned municipalities contribute 44,5 million euro and they will stand guarantee among other things for any additional expenses regarding the old buildings. The government invested 73,5 million: 50 million by the ministry of education and 23,5 by the ministry of economic affairs.

Strengthening and increasing sustainability in Groningen
In the Spring Memorandum 2016 , the Dutch government announced at the end of May that they will make 284 million available for the work program of the NCG. In the coming period, the NCG along with the region will review the use of the funds to increase sustainability and reinforcement.

Register of Teachers will be legally enshrined

News item April 2016

Following lawyers, doctors and nurses, now there will be a Register for teachers as well. The government has decided to enshrine the Register for Teachers in law. Now teachers will be given more space and responsibility to empower their profession. The requirements of the Register are decided by the teachers themselves.

For teachers designed by teachers
The Register of Teachers is an initiative of the educational cooperative (only in Dutch available), the representative of the professional team compromising theGeneral Union of Education (AOb), Beter Onderwijs Nederland (only available in Dutch) (Better Education Netherlands), the CNV Education (union for Education), the Federation of Trade Union for Education and the Platform Vakinhoudelijke Verenigingen Voortgezet Onderwijs (Platform for Professional Association Secondary Education) (the last two sites are only in Dutch available).

Since 2012, teachers can register themselves voluntarily. In 2017, registration of teachers will be compulsory. It is for the professional group to determine the establishment, the content and the implementation of the Register. Teachers will be held accountable, by their colleagues, for the maintenance of their capabilities. A Register contributes to the quality of the professional by stimulating teachers to maintain and improve their skills.

Only qualified teachers will be recognized in the Register of Teachers. Teachers who are not (yet) qualified, will be included in the porch of the Register.

The Education Council and the Council of State have, in their opinions, called for attention for a careful and phased implementation of the Register of Teachers. In order to meet this, the government has extended the introduction period with 4 years.

A good teacher makes all the difference
The government supports teachers who want to follow an extra course or want to undergo in-service training. The objective is to have good and motivated teachers in front of the class, because they make the difference. A good teacher knows how to accomplish more with the pupils and works together with the colleagues and the school board on further improving the quality. An important condition therefore is that the knowledge and skills of the teacher should be at a good level and that he or she regularly maintains this.

Teachers can, for instance, claim the teacher’s development grant. The Dutch minister for education, Jet Bussemaker en state secretary Dekker have made almost 50 million available for this grant. Teachers can also apply for a contribution from the LerarenOntwikkelFonds (Fund for the development of teachers) to a maximum of €75.000. This fund supports teachers in realizing their own initiatives for better education. The Register of Teachers helps teachers to seize these opportunities.

Impulse for Life Long Learning

New items January 2016

From September 1, 2016 (new academic year) it will be easier for students and workers to re-educate themselves via part-time education.
In the technology and ICT sector 12 different institutions for higher education will start experimenting with funding on demand (‘vraagfinanciering’). In these experiments, students are eligible for vouchers that they can use for education modules. For this, institutions adapt their courses to the needs of part-time students and their employers. The training can also be offered at the working place of the part-time student, apart from the location of the institution.

Employers in the technology and ICT sector mention that there is much need for better opportunities for retraining of - and additional training for their employees. Therefore 7 funded (by the government) and 5 non-funded institutions get to work together with sector organisations and companies to realize more customization in education.

In the healthcare and welfare sector institutions, employers and sector organisations will start with these experiments in 2017.
In September 2016 20 institutions in higher education will start with pilots for more flexible education. In this pilot institutions have the maximum freedom to adapt education to the needs of the part-time students. There will be looked better at previously acquired knowledge and skills, and learning while working and online learning will be better utilized. So that more customization is possible and so that a study can be combined better with work and the private life.

Especially nowadays, with a rapidly changing labour market, there is a need for continuous training and retraining. The Minister of Education thinks it is important that these experiments and pilots will start this year, so that it will become easier for employees to follow part-time education that suits their needs.


€ 3.5 million for promotion scholarships for teachers of science subjects

News item December 2015

Minister Bussemaker makes € 3,5 million available for teachers in secondary education who want to follow a PhD in the field of didactics in science subjects. Minister Bussemaker will therefore allow sixteen teachers in total to obtain their PhD within four and a half years by means of the subsidy.

Bussemaker wishes to have more PhD graduates teaching in secondary education, which will boost the quality of education. By investing in teachers in science subjects with academic ambitions, Bussemaker attempts to stimulate the attractiveness of the profession and innovation in education. The scholarships will contribute to strengthening research into didactics in science subjects.

Minister Bussemaker is pleased that the Dudoc Bèta programme enables more teachers teaching science subjects to choose for a PhD in order to develop themselves. “Not only will they improve as teachers, but also schools will benefit from their newly acquired knowledge and experience. This will provide for more depth and reflection in secondary education. Research in didactics in science subjects furthermore also benefits future teachers, as teacher educators can improve their curricula based upon these PhD studies. In this way, students will receive even better education, and the teaching profession will become more attractive for science students in the future.”

More teachers with master’s degrees, thanks to teacher development grants

News item August 2015

Under a new scheme that began on 1 September 2015, trainee teachers who want to do a master’s degree at an HBO institution or university are eligible for a new type of grant. The idea is that better qualified teachers result in better quality education.

Research or placement at a school
Under the new scheme, students will do a work placement or the fieldwork for their research at a school. This will give them a connection with the teaching profession and increase their chances of becoming a teacher after completing their studies.

Grant towards tuition fees and study costs
The new scheme covers master’s degree courses in education and in subjects where there is an imminent shortage of teachers, such as French, German and mathematics. Students receive a one-off payment of €3,000 towards their tuition fees and study costs. The payment is first a loan and becomes a non-repayable grant if students complete the course within the set time. For students of mathematics, physics and chemistry, the grant is €5,000. Grant applications may be sent to the Education Executive Agency (DUO) from 1 September.

50% of teachers with a master’s degree
These changes come in response to agreements made between Sander Dekker, the State Secretary for Education, and the education sector. The plan is that by 2020, 30% of primary school teachers will hold a master’s degree (compared with 20% in 2013) and 50% of secondary school teachers (compared with 33% in 2013). In pre-university secondary education (VWO), over 80% of teachers should have a master’s degree, compared with 53% in 2013.

Supervisory boards must report problems at school

News item July 2015

School supervisory boards need to be much more alert to problems and should not attempt to cover up mismanagement at their schools. They have a statutory duty to report irregularities or failing management to the Education Inspectorate. This duty also applies where the quality of teaching or educational continuity is at risk.

This is the substance of a bill to strengthen educational governance submitted by education minister Jet Bussemaker and state secretary Sander Dekker to the House of Representatives in July 2015.

The bill also seeks to strengthen participation procedures. For instance, it stipulates that school managers should be appointed on the basis of public profiles, approved by the school’s participation council. The participation council will also be involved in the dismissal of school managers. In addition, members of supervisory boards will be required to meet at least twice a year with the participation council, which will be given greater scope to annul decisions by the board. The position of educational committees will also be strengthened.

Education renewal by teachers and school leadership leads to better education

News item June 2015

In recent years, dozens of schools have taken advantage of extra resources to experiment with measures to deal with a potential shortage of teachers. The evaluation of this scheme, which was submitted to the House of Representatives by education state secretary Sander Dekker, shows that a number of these measures can also help to boost the quality of education.

For instance, customised teaching at primary schools leads to higher pupil achievement and greater parental satisfaction. In secondary education it enables staff to tackle teacher shortages more effectively. Key to projects’ success is that teachers themselves initiate the renewal.

Between 2011 and 2014 schools with innovative ideas to tackle the expected teacher shortage could apply to a new grant scheme (InnovatieImpuls Onderwijs). The grant prevented projects from eating into existing resources, which could increase teachers’ workload or affect the quality of education. Almost 150 schools applied to the scheme.

The schools developed five innovative concepts based on different forms of school organisation, job differentiation and the use of IT. Digital education played an important, auxiliary role in practically all the projects. The effects of these innovative measures were compared with the results of a control group. A team of researchers were involved for the full duration of the projects.

Greater efficiency and education quality
The projects showed that innovative approaches can boost efficiency and education quality, providing they meet the right conditions.

For instance, the innovative SlimFit concept for primary education replaced the standard year groups with units of 70 to 90 pupils. Each unit was assigned a broad team of teachers, teaching assistants and specialists, who were jointly responsible for educational input. The SlimFit organisation model is a good solution for schools in regions with population decline and offers flexibility for effective provision of appropriate education.

In secondary education, three of the four innovative concepts (Onderwijsteams, Videolessen and E-klas & PAL) provided effective solutions to teacher shortage. They enabled teachers to teach more pupils per classroom without jeopardising the quality of teaching or increasing the workload. The Onderwijsteams concept, which entailed team-teaching large classes, actually resulted in pupils attaining higher marks. This was also true of Leerlingen voor Leerlingen (Pupils for Pupils), in which senior pupils, assisted by a subject teacher and media specialist, made video lessons for junior pupils, dealing with answers to common questions. On schools can learn from each other’s experiences with educational renewal and consult an innovation support team about their own innovative processes.

Focus on science and engineering

News item June 2015

To ensure that the Netherlands has enough well-trained engineers and other technical workers, the government is working together with the business and education communities to boost the number of students in these fields. It is also striving to promote trade skills and improve the match between study programmes and the world of work. Thanks mainly to this joint campaign, the proportion of first-year university students enrolling in science and engineering programmes has increased over the past 10 years from 26% to 35%. In 2014/2015, this amounted to 19,123 first-year students. In higher professional education, 21,507 first-year students, or 22% of the total, enrolled in science and engineering programmes (up from 18%). These data can be found in the Technology Pact progress report submitted to the House of Representatives. The report concludes that the increase in student numbers has benefited the market for science and engineering jobs, although there are still 28,000 unfilled vacancies, such as for electricians and cybersecurity specialists.

Based on the Technology Pact, businesses, schools and universities are launching national and regional initiatives to recruit more students in science and engineering and to further strengthen the labour market position of engineers and other technical workers. Over the past two years the business community has invested more than €100 million in partnerships with education institutions and government, such as the Centres for Innovative Skills. In addition, the country’s nine leading economic sectors have created almost 500 scholarships and intend to double that number over the next few years.

In order to remove obstacles on the job market, the government has earmarked €600 million for sector-specific plans. These also focus strongly on training in engineering and technology. Over 80,000 people have already had the opportunity to retrain for technical careers or take part in continuing professional education. In total, 200,000 technical professionals will receive support under the sector plans.


Regulatory burden more clarified

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science wants to tackle unnecessary regulatory burden.  Schools and teachers often seem to experience more pressure than they should , because it is not always clear how rules should be interpreted. The Ministry wants to clarify this by identifying these uncertainties and other complaints about the regulatory burden, by making it public and by explaining it.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will identify the unclarified to make it easier for schools and teachers. Teachers are invited to report their question about rules via social media (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook). There will be a fact check on with questions on (assumed) rules and a section where good examples can be shared. Teachers can talk with the Inspectorate of Education, in a question and answer section, about (supposed) rules of the Inspectorate.

Besides the websites of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Inspectorate of Education will be screened on unclear information on regulations with the aim of providing clarity and to prevent that schools and teachers experience more pressure than necessary.

More space for extra education courses for teachers in secondary education

From 1 April 2015 teachers in secondary education can receive a master’s degree or qualification in one additional subject via the so-called ‘VierSlagLeren’(Four Stroke Learning). The next two years the Minister and State Secretary of Education will make nearly € 3 million available. The objective is to have more teachers with a master’s degree and new qualified teachers for the ‘shortage subjects’.

Teachers with experience and teachers at the beginning of their career

In ‘VierSlagLeren’ teachers with experience and teachers at the beginning of their career or teachers with no work agreement form a duo. Both teachers follow a course with the teachers development grant and together they will be teachers in the same classes during this years of training (with the teachers development grant).
The incumbent teacher can study for a master’s degree or for an extra qualification via a bachelor’s degree for shortage subjects (like math or a foreign language). The teacher at the beginning of his/her career, who teaches the same subject as the incumbent teacher, will replace the incumbent teachers during his/her training. Besides the teacher at the beginning of his career will also study for a bachelor’s or master’s degree in that specific subject or in another shortage subject. In this way the school has no problem in replaying teachers during their study. Further the incumbent teacher  gives guidance to the beginning teachers and they work together on the development of the school.

Schools and teachers can apply for ‘VierSlagLeren’ from April 1 to July 1, 2015. Schools that apply duo’s will receive, next to the teachers development grant, an amount of € 16,000 for two years. Schools can use this amount of money for the replacement costs of the teacher with experience. Teachers at the beginning of their career will receive (at least twice) a year contract with a minimum of 16 hours per week.

In 2014 ‘VierSlagLeren’ started successfully in primary education. Already 130 duo’s join in primary education.

Launch of web tool:

A web tool for single parents is made by order of the Minister of Education and the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment. This web tool is for single parents who are studying or who are planning to. With the help of this tool single parents can gain an insight into the different possibilities and  regulations to combine a study with the care for one or more children.

On the basis of personal characteristics of the single parents, the web tool can show which rights and duties they have and besides it refers to institutions that provide more information on individual level. The web tool gives more information about the regulations from 2015 for social welfare, child regulations and the loan system for students. The tool also shows the additional support single parents can get from (education)institutions.

For more information, please visit: (only in Dutch available).


Primary education sector plan to receive €8 million 

News item November 2014

A total of almost €8 million is to be invested in the sector plan for primary education. Half of this amount will come from the budget of social affairs and employment minister Lodewijk Asscher and the other half will be provided by the sector.

This is the second primary education sector plan. The first plan aimed to strengthen regional cooperation in order to retain teachers at risk of unemployment and help them find new work. It also sought to ensure sufficient incoming young teachers. The new plan focuses on training and professional development with a view to improving quality of teaching.

More than 170,000 people are employed in primary education. The number of primary school pupils is falling, so that teacher training graduates currently have difficulty finding work. However, there is expected to be a teacher shortage from 2016, when large numbers of teachers will reach retirement age. The sector plan includes agreements on in-service training for teachers to keep their skills up to date and on partnerships with day nurseries and playgroups that can provide work for teachers whose jobs disappear because their school has too few pupils. Specifically:
• 1,500 teachers and managers will be retrained for work in day nurseries and playgroups for 2 to 4-year-olds in areas of population decline;
• 6,000 teachers will receive in-service training.

The government has set aside €600 million for programmes developed by employers and trade unions to help people at risk of being made redundant find new work, either within or outside their current organisation. Employers and unions are contributing an equal sum. Over 100 sector plans have been submitted.

Less rules, better education

Time, money and energy in education should focus on high quality education. Hereby rules are necessary, however too many rules or unclear rules can lead to a work pressure and can stand in the way of high quality education. The Minister and State Secretary of Education signed an action plan with different parties like teachers, school principals, school boards, sector councils, trades unions. This is the action plan ‘Regeldrukagenda Onderwijs 2014-2017’ (Agenda for regulatory burden in education 2014-2017).

Rules are created by the government, the executive agencies, the inspectorate of education, social partners and the school themselves. It is therefore important that tackling of unnecessary rules at all levels occurs. It involves for example the removal of restrictive laws and regulations, but also better dealing with rules. In the agenda all parties agreed  to actions for the coming years to reduce the regulatory burden at all levels.

Click here for more information on this agenda (only in Dutch available).

Closer control on school boards

There will be a closer control on the school boards in education. From now on an appointment for directors in education will be based on public profiles, where the representative advisory board gave its opinion on. The representative advisory board will also join in the conservation about the appointment and the dismissal of a director. This will be regulated in the law on strengthening administrative power of education institutions.

With this bill, the quality and diversity of school boards is better guaranteed. Besides internal supervisors and the representative advisory board will have more to hold on to let the administrators of the school stay alert.

The internal supervisor must consult with the representative advisory board at least twice a year. When the internal supervisor has a suspicion of mismanagement he/she is obligated to report this to the Inspectorate of Education.

Members of the representative advisory board (MR) in primary and secondary education have the right to receive compensation for the costs for legal aid and training. 
The Cabinet has agreed to send the bill to the Council of State for recommendations. The text of this bill and the recommendations of the Council of State will be published when the bill is introduced to the Lower House.


International exchange program for teachers

The coming three years about 60 talented teachers in primary, secondary and vocational education will get the opportunity the visit and gain experience at an American school. According to the minister and State Secretary of education it is important that more teachers can have the opportunity to develop themselves and furthermore gain more international experience. This international exchange program will give teachers an excellent opportunity to develop themselves, within or outside the field they work in.

One year after the launch of the teachers agenda

Teachers and schools have taken many initiatives to develop the teachers profession and to make the profession more attractive. Teachers of 160 schools in secondary education work together in ‘professional learning communities’. In these communities teachers work together with university teacher training to improve their lessons through research.

Nearly 200 schools participate in the program ‘leerKRACHT’. The focus in this program is on the 'learning organization' via shared lessons, observations in the classroom and discussing the development of teachers. At the start of the program, in 2014,  86 schools participated.

Teachers register
The aim is that in 2017 all teachers are registered in the Register of Teachers. With registration in the register, teachers show that they have the right papers, that they keep up their knowledge and are aware of the latest developments in the field they work in.


Teachers agenda 2013-2020

The Minister and the State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science have launched the Teacher Agenda 2013-2020 (only in Dutch available) early October 2013. The quality of education and pupil performance are strongly dependent on competent teachers and good school management. In order to attract and retain good teachers, the government is investing in measures to improve the quality of teachers, teacher training and career prospects. Improvements in teacher training programmes should ensure that new teachers will meet the requisite quality standards. The Teachers Agenda 2013-2020 mentions different agreements to achieve this. The agreements are made in consultation with teachers, the management staff and teacher educators. 

The most important agreements are:
1. Better students in teacher training
Students who start in teacher training need foreknowledge and they must be appropriate for their future profession. Therefore Primary School Teacher Training Colleges (Pabo’s) have entrance tests for math and language since 2006. Other teacher training colleges can also get these tests. 
2. Better teacher training
Persons who finished teacher training must have sufficient knowledge and skills. This requires proper teacher training. Therefore, there will be a professional register for trainers. From 2014 science and technology is part of the curriculum of teacher training colleges.
3. Attractive and flexible learning routes in teacher training
Attractive and flexible learning pathways ensure that enough good students enrol in teacher training. In 2008 the education minor in universities started. As a result hundreds of students are involved in teacher training each year. In 2009 the program Eerst de Klas (The class first) started. This program recruits outstanding students for a job in education. Besides that, students who just graduated from university can also do an education traineeship.
4. A good start for new teachers
The goal is that all teachers are qualified at the start of their profession. Teachers must continue in deepening and maintaining their knowledge and skills. Besides that Pabo’s and primary schools are going to make agreements on deepening knowledge of beginning teachers (after they graduated).
5. Permanent improvement of the quality of schools/ schools as learning organizations
Teachers, teaching staff and school boards must continue to learn together and must continue to work on the quality of education. Opportunities for development and career opportunities are important for teachers. Pupils and students should give feedback on the performance and functioning of their teachers. In this way all stakeholders are involved.
6. Qualified and skilled teachers
Teachers must keep their knowledge up to date and must increase their skills. Already 39,000 teachers used the teacher development grant. From 2015 teachers must have the time, money and space to maintain their skills. In the collective agreements, agreements will be made about time and facilities for continuing professional development.
7. A strong professional association
In 2011 the Education Cooperative (in Dutch only) started as a representative of the teachers profession. Approximately two thirds of all teachers already joined this cooperative. The starting point is that by improving the quality of education, the prestige of the profession increases. Besides that this cooperative organizes and stimulates activities for improving the image of the teacher profession. 

Technology pact

In May 2013 a technology pact (Techniekpact 2020) (in Dutch only) was concluded, based on partnership between businesses, unions and educational institutions. Collaboration is the key to popular and practical technical education that dovetails with labour market requirements. The technology pact brings together the business community, employers, workers, education (both private and government-funded), pupils and students, and regional and central government authorities – all of whom have a part to play.
The aim of the technology pact is to make education more relevant to the world of technology and work through better cooperation between the government, education and the business community, and thus to reduce the shortage of qualified technical personnel.


Source of all of the above articles: Site of the Government(site with these articles is only available in Dutch).