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Universiteit Leiden


Marlene Troestl
Honours Student Rebuilding Education 2019

We are changing the education system

Schooling is a period every Dutch citizen experiences and therefore plays a huge part in the personal development of individuals in our society. The methods and approach in the classroom determine the skillset and the competences of the future Dutch citizens. 

Given its impact and importance, it is widely recognized that innovation and improvement within the education system are needed. However, when taking a look at the current developments, it doesn’t look too good. In fact, Sir Ken Robinson, one of the most potent advocates for global education transformation, worries that most reformation attempts are initiated by political and commercial interest, parties which according to him „(…) misunderstand how real people learn and how great schools actually work“. (Robinson, 2015). It is evident that the discussion needs the participation from everybody and in particular from other scientific fields, not just the education sciences. However, most importantly, it seems as if everyone is forgetting the opinion of one important stakeholder: from us, students. 

The competences of young people are often under-estimated. Who knows best what a good learning experience requires than students (as well as teachers) themselves? And why do we teach children facts that can be looked up on the web whilst soft skills such as for problem solving or self-management remain absent in the classroom? I believe that it is foolish to leave the voices of young people unheard, or worse, to discourage them to take part in the discussion.

Rebuilding Education, is an interdisciplinary university-level course that offers the required tools and network for us students to develop our opinions and ideas. In a bi-weekly setting, the course covered education in all its facets. We had lectures ranging from a psychological to a philosophical as well as technical approach. This allowed us to draw complex connections between the recent developments in technology, social structures and changes, neurosciences, etc. which gave us an idea of what tools we have at our disposal. 

Additionally, course coordinators Bertram Loth and Jorim Tielbeek provided us with a network of education advocates, Dutch schools and scholars doing research in the respective field. A close cooperation with high-school Academie Tien, allowed us to talk to teachers and students on a frequent basis to receive ideas, expertise and feedback on our work. 

Throughout the course, we have been developing our own redesigns to tackle problems in the Dutch education system in our own way. We tackle dissatisfaction in the classroom, inefficient teaching methods, demotivating grading schemes and many other complex issues.

This website is the product of hard team work between young students and experienced advocates for education reform. Be invited to take a look at our redesigns and let us start a conversation!