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Three challenges for equal opportunities

Three challenges for equal opportunities

What are the challenges in education for giving equal opportunities?

What does the research say?

What are the challenges in education for giving equal opportunities?

Over the past ten years, students whose parents did not continue their education have reduced the chances of a successful educational career, while those chances have increased for students with academically-educated parents. Why is this? And more importantly: what can we do about it?

What causes unequal opportunities?

Much goes well in our education. Dutch education is one of the most innovative systems in the world. On average, students perform well and the connection to the labor market is much better than in other countries. At the same time, however, a worrying development can be seen: over the past ten years, the educational level of parents has become increasingly determining for their children’s level of education and for the type of education they receive. Inequality in the distribution of educational opportunities is especially visible in

 ● Elementary school advice,

● advancements in secondary education,  and
● segregation in secondary education and its impact on the shortage of teachers.

What can we do about it?
  1. The feeling of injustice and the concern for increasing inequality mean that many elementary schools have changed their policy on their track advice. We see more and more often that this advice is not only given by teachers in group 8 (grade 6), but that also the internal counsellor and other colleagues are involved. Moreover, we see that a part of the schools actively adjusts the track advice if after the final test it appears that the pupil has performed higher.
  2. In addition to organizing bridge classes in a different way, secondary schools can support and facilitate pupil development and stacking of diplomas. There are schools that actively do this, so that more students succeed with a diploma at a higher level. It helps if the school has high expectations of students and, for example, places students with a mixed track advice at the highest level in case of doubt.
  3. How can we counter increasing segregation? Does it help to focus recruitment more actively on a more heterogeneous student population? How can schools be made attractive to a wider population of students? Can this be done with a wide range of (extracurricular) activities? Part of the solution lies with boards and policy makers, who can counter segregation in their policies.