«SECONDARY EDUCATION IN THE NETHERLANDS : AGENDA FOR 2010 “The Pupil Captivated, the School Unfettered” CONTENTS 1. Foreword and structure 2. ...»
Remove obstructive regulations There is a love-hate relationship between innovation and regulations, as can be seen in the process discussed in this memorandum. The School Managers in Secondary Education organisation has, therefore, been invited to draw up an inventory, which is as concrete as possible, of the regulations that unnecessarily obstruct innovation. Furthermore, within the framework for the modernisation of the WVO, a general experimental article will be introduced for more fundamental innovations for which the expanded legislative framework is still too limiting. Also, pending a more structural liberalisation of the legislative framework (modernisation of the WVO), optimal use can be made of the current divergence provisions in the law.
Greater control over demand in the SLOA policy Via the Outline Memorandum of 2005, the SLOA organisations were invited to formulate and make concrete what their contribution could be to the innovation movement outlined above. In addition – pending the evaluation of the SLOA Act – greater control over demand could be introduced to the SLOA system. School Managers in Secondary Education could possibly play a role in the formulation of themes within the framework of the think tank activities of the SLOA organisations.
Monitoring, evaluation and the development of knowledge The development of the innovation and the effects of the measures outlined above will be closely monitored in the years to come. On the instruction of the Ministry of OCW, the University of Twente conducted an inventory study into the current status of innovation in secondary education: the trends, themes, developments and so on. This provides an initial 'state of the art‘.
Each year in May, a report will be provided on the manner in which the innovation movement is developing and what effect this movement is having on the quality of teaching and learning. The report is published in May, so it can be combined with the Education Report and the OCW Annual Report. An innovative form will be found for this monitoring that does not burden the schools. The first report will be published in May 2005.
The development of knowledge and science Innovation in secondary education benefits from a strong scientific foundation. It now seems that changing views of teaching and learning are having a stimulating effect on the scientific research in these fields. Interesting in this context are the activities that are being developed by lecturers at the colleges of professional education. At the same time, the results of scientific research are insufficiently aimed at the practice of teaching. As a result, good ideas reach the school at a slow pace and the research receives signals from the teaching profession very late. Innovation thus generally comes about at a slower pace than is necessary. The idea of knowledge communities, introduced by the Education Council, is one way to strengthen the connection between science and the teaching profession. Educators have repeatedly said that they need just such a connection. The sector could fulfil a pioneering role in this.
The school managers in secondary education were asked therefore, within the framework of the Innovation agency, to draft a plan of approach for ‘strengthening the connection between 'innovation and science', in collaboration with scientists – who can participate in this connection – the NWO and the innovation platform. The plan can be completed by 2005 and be implemented that same year.
Getting a powerful innovation movement off the ground 'from the grass roots'.
• Starting in 2005, or as much earlier as possible, the innovation resources will be incorporated into an innovation facility for secondary education based on agreements with the sector.
• The innovation agency will commence work in 2004.
• From 2004, a more demand-oriented approach will be introduced to the SLOA system.
Based on the evaluation of the SLOA Act in 2004, a decision will be taken on the spending of future SLOA budgets.
• Based on the inventory of 'obstacles to innovation' made by School Managers in Secondary Education and the school board organisations, unnecessary obstacles will be removed. This clean-up action will start in 2005.
• In 2005 a legislative bill will be introduced for a ‘general experimental article’ for innovations.
• Each year in May, a report will be issued on the progress and development of innovation in secondary education, beginning in 2005.
• In 2005, the plan of School Managers in Secondary Education for 'strengthening the connection between innovation and science' can be implemented.
• In 2006 agreement will be reached with the sector on incorporating other project budgets into the innovation facility in a planned manner and in phases.
3.3.2. Spearheads for innovation Application of ICT In the innovation policy, the role of ICT will be given special attention. In practice, ICT has proven to be a powerful means by which to give the innovation needs of schools flesh and blood, and thus catch maximum attention from pupils. The application of ICT provides opportunities to fit in better with the interests of the pupils, with different learning styles and to promote active and independent learning. The applications of ICT within the teaching-learning process provide schools with possibilities for more tailored education and greater flexibility. Simulations can provide exceptionally powerful, modern, safe and relatively inexpensive learning environments, both for vocational preparation and for scrutinising theories. For review and the compilation of a portfolio, the use of ICT applications provides very promising opportunities. In all of these cases, the use of educational, highly significant ICT applications is an integral part of the education process. The school and the teacher can play a crucial role in this as bearers of educational reform.
The integration of ICT in secondary education will not come about by itself. It deserves to be promoted strongly within the framework of a broad innovation strategy. The government will not dictate how this step should be taken, but will encourage and facilitate it. The government is responsible for providing a sufficient level of funding and a recommendation and support structure, with attention given to the dissemination of knowledge. Important roles have been reserved in the integration of ICT in secondary education for the foundations Kennisnet and ICT at School; both of them are ICT organisations set up from the ranks of and for education. Kennisnet is playing a role in the realisation of a high-quality supply of relevant content and services. ICT at School serves as a process co-ordinator and consumer organisation, promoting collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. As organisations borne out of and for education, both foundations focus considerable attention in their activities on the use of ICT for innovation.
After a period of pursuing a separate ICT education policy, the foundation has been laid for the integration of ICT into education, for the step from 'learning to use ICT’ to ‘using ICT in order to learn’. This means that the user will take a central position in the ICT policy: teachers, ICT coordinators and the pupils. As a result, ICT and innovation are inextricably linked together. In the years to come, this should be given more coherence. School Managers in Secondary Education will be asked to come up with proposals to give this concrete shape.
Promote integration of ICT and synergy with innovation.
• School managers in secondary education will be asked in 2004 to make proposals for utilising the synergy between the different innovation and ICT activities and proposals for improving the cohesion between them.
• Integration of ICT – as a part of a wider innovation strategy – will be promoted further
starting in 2004 through the following specific actions:
o the educational content chain will be reinforced via Kennisnet, o ICT at School will develop a Knowledge Roundabout with a competition for innovation projects, o an independent evaluation will be conducted of the continuation of Kennisnet and ICT at School after 2005.
Substantive innovation: exact sciences / technology Studies in the exact sciences and technology should be given special attention. They are an important factor in the competitive power in a knowledge economy. At the European level, it has been agreed that the number of HBO and university graduates in the technology sector should rise by 15% by the year 2010. The Delta Plan for Science and Technology, which has been drafted to
implement this, uses a broad, coherent approach. The Delta Plan reaches further than education:
research organisations and employers have an important role to play in its execution. The line of action for the education part of the plan is aimed primarily at making science and technology studies more attractive. With regard to secondary education, this could contribute to encouraging more pupils to enrol in these subjects in post-secondary education.
Contribute to achieving the objective of the Delta Plan for Science and Technology by increasing the attractiveness of the exact science subjects for pupils in secondary education.
• The regulations of the central examination syllabus within the separate exact science subjects will be limited. Preparations start in 2004 for the introduction in 2007. This will create more possibilities for the schools to provide their own content and for reform of the subjects.
• Starting in 2004, the development of a new, integrated exact sciences subject will be facilitated.
• The collaboration between secondary education and higher education will be promoted starting in 2004 by carrying out a range of projects.
3.3.3. Teaching time and development time Teachers and management also indicated that the current regulations with regard to the teaching time hinder the flexibility in education and thus restrict the opportunities for providing tailored education and for innovation. They think that these regulations are out of date because they no longer fit in with new methods and forms of education, and they offer too few opportunities for development. The legal regulations focus on 'traditional' contact time between a teacher and a class. As a result, the regulations on teaching time obstruct rather than promote innovation and development in education.
The current provisions on teaching time formulate the concept of teaching time – in which 'contact time' is an important element. In addition, a minimum number of hours are prescribed for this. Although I would like to retain a guarantee function in the sense of a minimum amount of effort required for schools, I would like to redefine the concept of teaching time in order to make it possible for schools to make more flexible use of the teaching time available. This will better enable teachers to create appealing, coherent and innovative course programmes for pupils that fit the learning styles, abilities and needs of (groups of) pupils. In the policy response to the recommendation of the Task Group for the Reform of Basic Secondary Education, which was submitted to the Lower House in June 2004, this is further discussed.
Enable schools to use the available hours more flexibly for the promotion of tailored efforts in programme choices, innovation and school development.
To change the concept of teaching time, an adaptation of the legal frameworks is being prepared so that this can take effect on 1 August 2006.
4. Modern administrative relationships The ambition to bring about real pupil-oriented, responsive, innovative and professional secondary education means that the school will be given the ability to give shape to this goal. The schools themselves are primarily responsible for providing good and appealing education and for acquiring the freedom to do so, as explained concretely in the previous chapter. This also means that the administrative relationships between schools, the organised sector and the national government will have to be reformed.
Key concepts in modern administrative relationships are: clarity with respect to goals, results and responsibilities; openness and transparency; trust and accessibility at all levels. With this in mind, this chapter describes the roles and responsibilities of the principal players.
4.1. National government: frameworks, conditions and inspection The national government safeguards the public interest in secondary education. This means that the national government guarantees the accessibility, the quality and the effectiveness of secondary education. The national government establishes the frameworks within which the school and the sector can operate.
• The schools are given maximum freedom to carry out the commission that they have and to realise the goals derived from it. Each school accounts for its actions.
• Agreements are reached with the sector concerning goals (achievements) to be realised by the sector as a whole. The sector gives an account of this.
The government attitude is to value results and success and to stimulate development, rather than punishing mistakes and restricting opportunities.
Significance of task and role of the national government for the school From the perspective of system responsibility, the national government formulates clear frameworks for the schools' use of the freedom granted. Along general lines, the national government determines what must be learned (attainment targets and exit qualifications), determines the teaching time, sets requirements for the teaching staff (qualifications and, after the implementation of the legislative bill on occupations in education, competencies) and regulates the distribution of educational provisions. The national government ensures that regulations are simple and clear and that they entail as little administrative red tape as possible.