news item | 11-17-2022 | 4:45 p.m
Schools and educational institutions have been working hard for a whole year to help their pupils and students face the consequences of the Corona crisis. This has led to different results, according to the latest progress report of the National Education Program. Teachers also find that some pupils and students are less motivated and have more difficulty learning. Education Ministers Dajgraf and Wiersma write this to the House of Representatives.
Between pupils in primary education and the lower years of secondary school, differences are seen in the test results of the previous academic year 2021-2022. When it comes to reading comprehension, pupils in primary school are almost on par. High school English results have improved more than expected. On the other hand, in some subjects pupils are still making less progress than would have been expected in the previous academic year. This is the case for spelling in primary education, arithmetic and mathematics in both primary and secondary education and Dutch in secondary education. Teachers explain the differences because in some subjects, students essentially have to put in extra flight hours to follow through on material, such as reading, and that those extra hours are now done. In mathematics, it is more crowded: if you don’t understand a part of the material, it will be difficult to master the subsequent material. So this requires continued attention from schools.
To feel comfortable
Conversations with principals and teachers in primary and secondary education also show that pupils sometimes find it difficult to learn, are less motivated and have difficulty planning. There are also concerns about how students feel about themselves. Girls in secondary education, in particular, have much lower scores in terms of well-being and concentration than they did before Corona and are under greater pressure to perform. So schools put extra effort into this, such as special courses or extra mentoring hours. The good news is that pupils from less fortunate families no longer suffer the greatest delays in primary education. It is no coincidence that there are extra funds for schools with many experienced students. It is important that schools keep track of all their students and also monitor students who, for example, are performing satisfactorily, but are below their potential.
Schools have begun to work enthusiastically on the implementation of the national education program. The schools are succeeding in implementing the plans despite the fact that last academic year was not yet a “normal” year due to the pandemic. Schools can spend the money until the 2024/2025 academic year. In addition, schools receive additional support from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to help students progress further. For example, schools receive help in monitoring pupils well and more practical knowledge about effective ways to keep pupils up to date. Through the Basic Skills Master Plan, Minister Wiersma also initiated the next step towards structural improvement of education, with structural financing.
Good implementation progress
There is good progress in implementing the program in secondary vocational education, higher vocational education and universities. The procedures of educational institutions to restore and develop education after Corona are in full swing. Many students have already been helped to make up for the delay in their studies. The students’ prospects for employment and internships also appear to be greatly improved. The number of apprenticeships in secondary vocational education and higher vocational education has grown sharply, and the shortage of training has sharply decreased.
Institutions are also publishing more resources on topics that were previously lagging behind: internships in teacher training programs and a lack of internship places. Moreover, more and more researchers with temporary contracts who have been delayed due to Corona are being helped. Institutions, just like students, are happy with the extended duration of the program and expect to be able to spend resources fully and properly over the new term.
The dropout rate of students who do not have a diploma is a point of concern. Many students choose to get a paying job prematurely. Many students also have mental problems, school lag, or problems with motivation and concentration. They also now have to deal with, among other things, a rising cost of living and a strained housing market. These points require a lot of effort from teachers and support staff. The National Education Program provides resources to improve student well-being. In addition, in the administrative agreement with universities and colleges, Minister Dejgraf provided structural funds to solve this problem.