Netherlands: Education for democratic citizenship in Dutch schools: A bumpy road
Keywords:citizenship education, education policy, primary education, secondary education, tertiary vocational education, the Netherlands
- Constitutional freedom of education affects democratic citizenship education policy.
- Citizenship education legislation in 2006 and 2007 placed little demands on schools.
- Legislation introduced in 2021 has further specified what is expected from schools.
- Studies of citizenship education in practice are largely critical of the extent to which schools teach about, through and for democracy.
Purpose: This paper discusses developments in citizenship education policy and practice in the Netherlands, and outlines key challenges as faced by the different stakeholders involved.
Design/methodology/approach: Our discussion is based on existing research and policy documents in the Netherlands. The authors, from three Dutch universities, are experts in the field of research on citizenship education.
Findings: Promoting citizenship education in primary, secondary and vocational tertiary education in the Netherlands has been challenging, particularly in light of the constitutional freedom of education in the Netherlands. Five issues are discussed in this regard: the contents of CE legislation, the normative character of legal requirements, integration of CE legislation in national curriculum aims, clarifying expectations from schools in teaching CE, and teacher education and professionalization.
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