Dutch Education Inspectorate still concerned about school kids' basic literacy skills
The Dutch Education Inspectorate is still very concerned about the basic literacy skills of children in primary and secondary education, it said in its annual report on Wednesday. Many children leave school with insufficient math and language skills to understand a letter from the government or follow a news report, for example, NU.nl reports.
Over 20 percent of children who leave primary school don’t have the desired math level, according to the Inspectorate. Many children also can’t write and read well enough to sufficiently grasp secondary school education. The situation is similar in secondary education. About a fifth of HAVO and VWO graduate with unsatisfactory marks on the Dutch national exam.
The teacher shortage certainly does not help in improving learners’ basic skills, the Inspectorate added. The deficit is particularly large in schools with many vulnerable pupils, who are already at increased risk of falling behind.
But there is “movement” in education, Inspector General Alida Oppers said. “Three years ago, we started stressing the importance of basic skills.” Since then, the reading arrears in group 8 of primary education have been eliminated, which she mentioned as a “bright spot.”
But the “sense of concern” continues to prevail, Oppers said. “The group with insufficient language skills consists of about 2.5 million people,” she said, according to the newspaper. “And that group is growing in all sorts of ways.”
Last year, the Inspectorate gave education two years to break this trend and work on better basic literacy skills. According to Oppers, the trend break is yet to happen. “It’s going to be stressful. But I’m confident we can do this,” she said. “We can’t leave another generation behind. We have to get results.”