Child motivation must improve in schools

Education Inspection believes that there is room for improvement in motivating pupils. A report for the 2012-2013 school year reveals that Dutch students are less motivated to learn than their age mates abroad. 

According to inspectors, they observed classes over the year, and saw that many students were not actively involved in the class. In continued education, 21 percent of lessons did not motivate students, and in primary education this was 9 percent.

Students explained that if they weren't getting credit for something, or if something didn't count towards their grades, they were less likely to be interested in it. If a teacher focuses the lesson on the development of the students, and reacts to their points, the students are more motivated, according to the Inspection.

Challenging good students, and supporting weak students are good examples, the Inspection states. Other solutions for motivating will also be looked at.

Further, the Inspection asserts that many schemes that attempt to improve the overall quality of schools is not recognized by students. The improvements also do little to support the teachers in their daily work. The Inspection sees these improvements start at the top, skipping the teachers themselves.

Despite this, there are fewer 'weak' schools in the country. Primary schools as well as continuing education institutions are rising in quality. The percentage of 'weak' to 'very weak' schools dropped from 19 percent in 2011-2012 to 9 percent the following year. Moreover, Dutch students are in the highest percentile internationally.

Quality of education is important to minister Bussemaker. She does think that it can improve, however. Especially with regards to motivation, which is a task that lies in the hands of teachers. "Because if students understand why they have to do something, if they get feedback from teachers, then they are motivated."

She also believes that teachers need to be taught better how to motivate students, what tools they need to reach pupils on a more efficient level.