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Inclusion and Education in European Countries - The Netherlands

Inclusion and Education in European Countries - The Netherlands

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Published by: Proiectul SOS on Mar 23, 2011
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03/23/2011

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Next observation is that the authority structure with regard to education and
educational governance was already complex in The Netherlands since the be‐
ginning of the Twentieth Century. Complexity has even increased incrementally,
making the implementation of effective and efficient measures more risky than
ever. In raw lines the traditional situation was that of two relevant actors, being
the State, on the one hand, and the school boards as the educational authorities,
on the other. The State formulated the laws and rules with regard to the aims
and resources as available for the school boards, including laws, rules and re‐
sources of priority education, inclusive education, etc. The school board took
care of applying the rules and using the resources. The State has had the inten‐
tion to diminish the burden of laws and rules for the schools to a large extend,
and to increase the autonomy of the schools. Whether this policy aim was suc‐
cessful or not, is unclear, but the trend is apparently towards a certain with‐
drawal of state control and initiative. In this ‘game’ the municipalities have
gained a new position. Before, they were the school board and educational auth‐
ority for the public schools, i.e. the board of one third of the primary schools and
a quarter of the secondary schools.5 Now they still are the official boards of the
public schools, although most municipalities have transferred the authority to

4

We intend to discuss the relation between ‘inclusive education’ and ‘appropriate education’ in the
general frame of the study, e.g. at the synthesising conference in May 2009.

5

The Dutch school system includes both private and public schools. Both are funded fully. The private
schools are established and governed by private Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic etc. boards, while
the public schools are governed by public authorities, usually the municipalities (see chapter 9 on the
issue of ‘pillarisation’ and the freedom of education).

6

non‐public or semi‐public committees. The municipalities hold now a new posi‐
tion as the conductor of educational orchestras for playing the innovative tunes
in their municipalities. So, policy innovations and new measures have been di‐
versified widely among the 400+ municipalities of The Netherlands. So local fac‐
tors were now to be taken into account, while assessing specific measures with
regard to inclusion in education. The latter is usually not done, while national
and local evaluation research has been neglected since the state relied more and
more on the conducting capacities of the municipalities, e.g. with regard to pri‐
ority measures.
In the local orchestras the school boards and educational authorities have hold
most of their autonomy with regard to the implementation of inclusion meas‐
ures. So, they can follow these up in their own directions. It’s complex, anyway.

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