Cabinet to streamline secondary education

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The Dutch government wants to simplify the secondary education curriculum to improve quality and restore its ranking among the world's top five countries. According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD, Dutch education now ranks 10th.

Education Minister Marja van Bijsterveld says she is concerned by the report's findings and has announced immediate steps. To improve standards she intends to reduce the number of subjects pupils have to take. In addition, she wants to limit the current variety of curricula to two: one for the sciences and another for the humanities, as was the case in the past.

The Labour opposition party says offering just two streams would be counterproductive. It is also calling for improving the quality of the teachers and raising their salaries. According to Labour, however, the last thing the new centre-right cabinet wants is to increase spending.

The OECD's so-called PISA report, published every three years, is based on a survey of 15-year-old pupils in the world's 65 most developed countries. It focusses on language, math and science skills.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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