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Netherlands:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

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Overview Netherlands

Contents

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

Netherlands:Organisation and Governance

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:Bachelor

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

Netherlands:Legislation

Netherlands:Institutions

Netherlands:Bibliography

Netherlands:Glossary

This chapter provides a thematic and chronological overview of national reforms and policy developments from 2013-2015.

The section on ongoing reforms and policy developments groups reforms in the following broad thematic areas that largely correspond to education levels: Early childhood education and care; School education; VET and Adult learning; Higher education; and Transversal skills and Employability. Inside each thematic area, reforms are organised chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.

Finally the section on the European perspective provides links to European strategies in which education and training have a prominent role.

This part describes for example the overall education strategy and the key objectives across the whole education system. It further describes the process from bill to law and the main actors in this process.

Overall national education strategy and key objectives

The Netherlands wants to belong to one of the top five nations in the world in the field of education. The target the Netherlands has set is that by 2020 no more than 8% of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 leaves school without a basic qualification. The proportion of early school leavers has already been sharply reduced from 15.5% in 2002 to 8.8% in 2012. The number of people completing higher education in the Netherlands already exceeds the Europe 2020 target of at least 40% in 2020. In 2012, this percentage stood at 42.3%. The government will continue to implement policies to further improve the quality of education.

Policies to achieve the targets
The Netherlands pursues a policy designed to enhance the knowledge and expertise of teachers, strengthen core subjects, increase the number of teaching hours, increase the focus on the acquisition of knowledge and skills, provide special facilities to excellent pupils and students, improve students' choice of courses and enhance the transparency of educational performance. With these goals in mind, the government and the social partners signed the National Education Agreement 25 on 19 September 2013. It includes commitments on areas such as improving cooperation between educational sectors and making the teaching profession more attractive.

The Netherlands invests extra in education. In 2013, the government added €650 million to the schools' lump sum contribution. For 2015 and on, this will be €600 million for education and research. The extra funding is intended to be used in areas such as more and better activities in the classroom, preventing students to repeat classes, appropriate teaching, and hands on teaching and technical education in vocational education 26. These measures are additional to those in the National Education Agreement.

Percentage individuals receiving higher education, increasing accessibility and quality
Since the year 2000, the proportion of 30 to 34-year-olds with higher education has risen from 26.5% to 42.3% in 2012 – an increase that has been achieved through organic growth and by encouraging students to complete their studies more quickly. Examples of the latter include better assistance with choice of study and formulating more detailed entry requirements for students in vocational education wishing to advance to higher professional education. Selection within a number of bachelor's or master's programmes (with fixed enrolment numbers or a specific educational concept) could also help students finish faster.

Early school leavers
Since 2005, the Netherlands has made intensive efforts to reduce the number of early school leavers. It has opted for an integrated, result-driven approach at the regional level. The Dutch approach for reducing the school drop-out rate is primarily aimed at prevention and focuses on the 12-to-23 age group: preventing young people from leaving school without any basic qualifications. The approach with performance agreements, a focus on grades and an active absenteeism policy is working. This approach ultimately leads to a significant reduction in the number of 18-to-24-year-olds not staying in school and, as a result, failing to obtain a basic qualification.

The current policy will be continued in 2014, with extra efforts being devoted to the following priorities:

  1. For academic year 2014/2015, an extra €2 million will be invested in the supervision of drop-outs and students aged 18 and 19 at risk of dropping out.
  2. A pilot study, ‘Early school leavers and the labour market’, is tracking young people who left school in the 2011/2012 academic year without a basic qualification and investigating where they have ended up: back in education, in employment, or neither. In some regions, where these early school leavers have found work their employers are being asked to allow these young people to return to school for at least one day a week to allow them to obtain their basic qualification.

Education budget 2015
The money made available through the different agreements (economic cuts)  will be used to make education ‘future-proof’(ready for the future) and will be used where it belongs: in classes and  for lectures. In 2015 € 115 million will be available for teacher grants and from 2015 the income freeze will no longer exist and teachers’ salaries will develop following the developments of the overall market. Besides the government is getting started with the modernization of the curriculum of general education.

From 2015 € 25 million is reserved in vocational education and training for an ‘excellence program’ and the work on internationalization is progressing. From 2015 € 75 million will also be available for  technical and other costly program in vocational education and training.

Overview of the education reform process and drivers

A bill becomes law in the following way:

  • Drafting of bill by the civil service

During the civil-service preparation, the content of the draft bill is not normally disclosed. However, information about the content may be made available at internetconsultatie.nl (in Dutch only) if the ministry in question wishes to involve interested parties in thinking along at the drafting stage.

  • Discussion of draft bill by the Cabinet

While the draft bill is being discussed by the members of the Cabinet, the content remains confidential. As a rule, Cabinet decision-making is not made public. However, after the discussions have been completed, a press statement will often be issued, indicating that the Cabinet ministers have agreed on the draft bill, and outlining its content.

  • Advice from the Council of State

Following discussion and approval by the Cabinet, the bill is sent to the Council of State for an advisory opinion. The Council of State makes a distinction between the requests it receives for advisory opinions and the opinions it issues in response to these.

  1. Requests for advisory opinions. Certain requests will already have been assessed by the Council, while others are awaiting assessment. They are sorted according to the ministry that issued them, and are updated every Monday.
  2. Advisory opinions. These contain the opinions of the Council of State on the matters about which its advice has been sought. These advisory opinions are made public when the ministry in question submits the bill to the House of Representatives.
  • Consideration by the House of Representatives

Bills under consideration by the House of Representatives are listed on its website (in Dutch only). All relevant Parliamentary Papers relating to a bill can be found on officielebekendmakingen.nl (in Dutch only).

  • Consideration by the Senate

Bills under consideration by the Senate are listed on its website (in Dutch only).

  • Publication in the Bulletin of Acts and Decrees

After the Senate has adopted a bill, it is published in the Bulletin of Acts and Decrees (in Dutch only). The announcement also indicates the date on which it enters into force as an Act.