Onderwijs sleutel voor EU 2020

Nieuws | de redactie
8 oktober 2012 | Wat moet Europa doen om in 2020 wél de innovatieve top te bereiken? Onderwijs, onderwijs, onderwijs. Dat zei Marja van Bijsterveldt tegen haar collega's van de 27 lidstaten. Een cultuuromslag rond excellentie en leiderschap kan het onderwijs rijker en sterker maken.

In haar rede tijdens de ministersconferentie op Cyprus -nu deEU-voorzitter tot 1 januari- sprak de minister van OCW bondig enindringend. Het was onmiskenbaar een ‘valedictory speech’, waarinzij de grote lijnen van haar beleid samenvatte en naar de toekomstdoortrok als wenkend perspectief.

U leest de rede hier:

“On making a successful exit from the crisis: The role ofEducation in the implementation of EU2020”

‘We want the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusiveeconomy. Today we are discussing in what way education andtraining can contribute to the jointly set goals for 2020.

Skills shortages a real concern

Like many other countries the Netherlands has growing shortagesof skilled professionals, particularly in the health care andtechnology sector. There is great and justified concern about theseshortages, in the industry and in other sectors in society. Ahighly educated society without adequate, good craftsmen, is asociety built on quicksand.

We have to contribute to dissolving these shortages by offeringhigh quality upper secondary vocational education and training.Education that challenges pupils sufficiently and that isresponsive to their diverse talents.

Pride in the system

But it is also important to be proud of our upper secondaryvocational education system. We need to show more appreciation forit. In the Netherlands we try to foster its image through publicitycampaigns. We also broadly publicize figures on the percentage ofVET-students finding a job within half a year after theirgraduation. Even today in the Netherlands this percentage is over90%.

It is time that we perceive vocational and general education asequivalent to each other. Only by doing so we can do justice to thediversity of talents of our young people, and meet the demands ofour society and labour market.

Raising standards

I am happy that during my term as minister our government hassucceeded in upholding the budget for education with targetedpriorities for basic literacy skills and more room forexcellence. In the Netherlands, our policy is aiming forraising quality and results and more room for excellency.

More ambitious, more demanding to schools, teachers, pupils,students, parents. To raise the bar! That gives discussionswith, unions and school boards for example. But it is veryimportant that the new government in the Netherlands will continuethis policy. It is about a change of culture.

Culture and leadership

And I am convinced that this culture-change is necessary if wewant to be competitive to other continents in the future. Itis crucial that we stimulate these culture-changes in Europe.’

Final point: We frequently talk about the importance ofteachers, but I also want to underline the importance of strongleadership. Strong leadership, gives strong teachers. For us, thisis a key-area for new investments.

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