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ERIC Number: EJ924954
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
Leaving It to the Schools: Citizenship, Diversity and Human Rights Education in the Netherlands
Bron, Jeroen; Thijs, Annette
Educational Research, v53 n2 p123-136 2011
Background: The Netherlands traditionally has a strong civil society. This has had an impact on the education system through the relatively high degree of autonomy for schools on moral and didactical choices as well as on the curriculum. Such freedom provides ample room for citizenship to develop at a local level. The large degree of curricular autonomy allows schools to shape education according to their own vision and values in partnership with those in civil society. Purpose: This article explores how citizenship education, cultural diversity and human rights education are implemented within such a context. The main aim is to analyse how societal and political ideals are laid down at the policy level (intended curriculum), how they are implemented at the school level (implemented curriculum), and how they impact on student learning (attained curriculum). Sources of evidence: Formal educational policy documents are analysed to gain insight into the intended curriculum. Insights in the implemented and attained curriculum are gathered through analysis of research studies into classroom practice. Main argument: The article argues that although citizenship education, cultural diversity and human rights education are prominent themes in political and societal debates and expectations of schools' contribution to these themes are high, the intentions are formalised only briefly in the intended curriculum. The freedom of education is mentioned as the main reason for the lack of policy commitment. The article argues, however, that local empowerment cannot do without school leadership to develop a school-specific vision and approach, as well as a coherent long-term vision on the way forward at the macro level. Conclusions: This curriculum analysis shows that cross-curricular socialisation themes do not play a prominent role in curriculum policy and that implementation in classroom practice is varied, but generally limited. With ambiguity in educational policy and limited implementation support, it is a complex challenge for schools to make strategic choices in interaction with civil society and to set their own social agenda. Given the current political and societal context, with its focus on freedom of education, it is necessary, but not realistic, to expect more detailed curricular regulations on these curriculum domains. Moreover, the current emphasis on basic skills in literacy and numeracy also limits the room for these societal issues, in both curriculum policy and practice. The article concludes that schools need more support to make autonomous choices as well as more clarity on what is expected from them. Also more insight is needed about feasible and coherent approaches to incorporate citizenship education in a core curriculum that has a strong emphasis on the basic skills.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands