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The Netherlands: new government, new education priorities

On Thursday 22 February 2007 Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands appointed a new Dutch government, bearing the name Balkende IV. It is a coalition government of three parties - Christian Democratic Party, Dutch Labour Party and the Christian Union – and is lead by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. In the coalition agreement ‘Samenleven, samenwerken’ (‘Living together, working together’) a number of education policy issues are being addressed. The new government intends to:
  • stimulate entrepreneurship in education, foster innovation in the economy and stimulate cooperation between education institutions and the business community;
  • improve migration policies for knowledge workers, and develop special imam training;
  • diminish the shortage of technical engineers;
  • put Dutch scientific research and education at the forefront of Europe.
The new Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ronald Plasterk, is responsible for the full range of education issues dealt with by the ministry. The main topics in his portfolio are higher education, science, research, emancipation, culture and media. State Secretary Marja van Bijsterveldt mainly deals with issues concerning professional education, and State Secretary Sharon Dijksma is in charge of the primary education portfolio. The Netherlands – Ministry of Education, Culture and Science
Government website