It will presumably be some time before a new cabinet is sworn in, but the Education Council has already written a letter. “Education is too important to be subject to policy shifts or course corrections every time a new cabinet is installed”, it states.

The Education Council advises the government on education. While its members are independent, they are appointed by the cabinet. The Council is currently chaired by Edith Hooge, professor of education management at Tilburg University.

Three pressing issues

The “three most pressing and urgent issues” in education, according to the letter, are teacher shortages, declining test scores in language and maths, and inequality of opportunity and social segregation in education.

It is “unacceptable” that young people are leaving education without being able to read and write properly, and without basic maths skills, the Council believes. It advocates “sustainable improvement of language and numeracy/mathematics education, from primary to higher education”.

The letter also states: “Our education system contributes to opportunity inequality. Whether pupils and students can get a good education that suits them depends partly on the education their parents received, and on their financial situation.”


So the incoming administration must continue to invest in education, the letter concludes. The Council also points to “the constitutional balance between the government’s systemic responsibility and the autonomy of educational institutions”.

Until a new cabinet is formed, the current ministers will remain in their posts. For education, they are Robbert Dijkgraaf (D66) and Mariëlle Paul (VVD).