It was already known that the ‘master’s programme in primary education’ was on its way. New study programmes must always demonstrate beforehand that they are ‘effective’. In other words, that there is a need for them. That happened earlier this year.

Subsequently, quality control organisation NVAO will examine whether the study programmes have been designed well enough to start offering them. Last week, talks on the matter were held with the experts that are due to give an opinion, and they take a positive view.


The signatures and rubber stamps of the NVAO board, which generally accepts the experts’ opinion, are now awaited. The procedure could take a while but the universities expect no more hurdles.

So why haven’t they delayed their announcement until the matter is settled? The earlier students hear about it, says a spokesperson, the better. After all, undergraduates have to think in good time about their further education.

And what’s more, there’s a shortage of teachers. The universities hope to be able to train one hundred and fifty to two hundred new teachers per year. The target group consists of undergraduates in social sciences who would like to opt for primary education.

For a long time, the study programmes in primary education teacher training (PABO) were the exclusive territory of the universities of applied sciences, but an increasing amount of criticism arose with regard to the PABO programmes. First, nationwide language and arithmetic tests were introduced and later also admission requirements for new PABO students, but another issue played a role too. Why were there no academics teaching in primary schools, some people wondered.


So in 2008 the first university-level PABO programmes started in Utrecht and Deventer, with students getting both an HBO and a WO Bachelor’s degree. Nine years later, in 2017, without the cooperation of the universities of applied sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen started a three-year academic Bachelor’s teacher training programme in primary education.

These university master’s programmes in Rotterdam, Leiden and Amsterdam are the next step. Universities have many master’s programmes in teacher training, but these are oriented to secondary education.