Netherlands 2016

Foundations for the Future

image of Netherlands 2016

How can the Netherlands move its school system “from good to great”? This report draws on international experience to look at ways in which the strong Dutch school system might go further still on the path to excellence. Clearly the Dutch school system is one of the best in the OECD, as measured by PISA and PIAAC and is also equitable, with a very low proportion of poor performers. The report therefore proposes an incremental approach to reform, building on strengths while responding to some emerging challenges. The Netherlands should strengthen the quality of early childhood education and care, revisit policies related to early tracking with more objective testing and track decisions, and enhance the permeability of the system. It should develop the professionalism of teachers and school leaders through enhanced collective learning and working, while at the same time strengthening accountability and capacity in school boards. This report will be valuable not only for the Netherlands, but also to the many other education systems looking to raise their performance who are interested in the example of the Netherlands.


Building student motivation and pursuing excellence in the Netherlands

There are growing concerns that some of the most promising students in the Netherlands are not reaching their full potential. Although the Netherlands has a high proportion of top-performers compared to other European countries, there are real challenges of motivation among all groups of Dutch students. Top-performers also lack perseverance and openness to problem solving, despite efforts by the Dutch government to improve the motivation and performance of the country’s most talented students. This chapter examines this challenge by exploring ways to reinforce rewards for excellence at every level of education, and the role of parents in motivating students to strive for excellence in their learning.


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