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Header image Ethics of Education: philosophy, history and law

Ethics of Education: philosophy, history and law

How do we establish what is the best practice or policy? How do we assess and attune conflicting interests or claims? How do we decide in the case of strong differences of opinion and perception?

In education, upbringing and youth care there are a number of different interests to consider. These interests, of the children, their parents, the groups to which they belong (e.g. religious or ethnic minorities), and the interests of society are often difficult to define and they can often be at odds with each other.

Educational professionals need to have the competences to analyse and discuss moral, legal and policy-related issues. Some of them need to be extra-proficient in this area in order to be able to advise other professionals, managers, policy makers, politicians, and governments. The Ethics of Education Master's course provides the right learning environment to enable you to develop this extra expertise. You will acquire the relevant competences and learn to apply these in the professional contexts of research, policy making and consultancy.

In the Master track Ethics of Education you learn to analyze moral issues and discussions in order to design policies and procedures and to take decisions. Three examples:

Het is in onderwijs, opvoeding en jeugdzorg vaak moeilijk om uit te maken wat het beste is en wat rechtvaardig is. Dat komt doordat opvattingen over wat kinderen nodig hebben, sterk verschillen.

Dit leidt gemakkelijk tot dilemma's en conflicten. Bijv. over wat zwaarder weegt:

  • de wens en de wil van de ouders of het inzicht en de verantwoordelijkheid van professionals (bijv. bij keuze voor behandeling in gezondheidszorg en jeugdzorg en bij keuze van leerstof, werkvormen en regels in het onderwijs);
  • de godsdienstvrijheid en culturele rechten van minderheden of het belang van het kind (bijv. bij selectie van pleegouders, bij het al of niet verbieden van besnijdenis, bij het al of niet toestaan van 'eigen' scholen, bij het toezicht op 'eigen' scholen en bij handhaving van de leerplicht);
  • het maatschappelijke belang of het persoonlijke belang (bijv. bij het bepalen van onderwijsdoelen en bij het beperken van schoolkeuzevrijheid).

Het zijn voorbeelden van ethische vragen. In beleidsvorming en praktijk doen zulke ethische vragen zich steeds vaker voor. Bovendien worden de ethische vragen steeds ingewikkelder, bijvoorbeeld door immigratie, emancipatie en professionalisering.

In deze mastertrack leer je morele problemen en discussies te analyseren met het oog op het vormen van beleid, het ontwikkelen van procedures en het nemen van praktische beslissingen. Bijv. problemen en discussies als:

  • Testimonial van student Eline van der Raad

    During my internship at a primary school I found out that the communication between parents and teachers is often poor.

    After finishing the 'Academic Pabo', I felt a little too young to start working immediately. I wanted to learn more before I would start to teach others.

    I chose the Master’s programme ‘Ethics of Education’, because I was ınterested in moral issues that concern education. For me, that is more interesting than only focussing on policy issues in education. In this master’s programme, you examine what is best for a child. That is very often hard to say, because who decides what is best? The parents, the school or perhaps the child itself? It is very interesting to dive into those issues. I am happy that I decided to study this.

    A course İ really liked was ‘In the best interest of the child’. You learn how to make decisions when there is a dilemma and people have different opinions on what might be best for a child. An example would be if it is good for a child to skip a grade. Teachers, parents and children might all want something different. What would be a proper solution for that?

    My thesis is about parent involvement. I have always been interested in that. During my internship at a primary school I found out that the communication between parents and teachers is often poor. I studied a project at a school where parents coach their children individually in class. I am going to examine how that influences the inequality of opportunity for children. In The Netherlands there is a lot of inequality of opportunity caused by shadow education like private supplementary tutoring or homework coaching. Especially highly educated parents send their children to such courses. I am going to research if this project will have a positive or perhaps a negative effect on this.

    Eline van der Raad, master student Ethics of Education

    Sluiten
    – student Eline van der Raad
  • Testimonial van alumnus Manon Niemeijer

    Manon teaches and coordinates secondary school courses and develops the VWO curriculum

    I currently work as a teacher, mainly teaching Civics to HAVO 4 and VWO 4 pupils. In addition, I coordinate the VWO+ courses for highly gifted pupils, and I teach several courses to first and second-year VWO groups. I have many other tasks as well, such as supervising the Student Council and developing the VWO curriculum.

    I am interested in educational development, and there is plenty going on in education these days. The number of pupils at the school where I currently work has doubled in the past six years, and it seems that the organization has not always been able to fully keep up with that growth. This creates many chances and opportunities to think along about teaching, issues that require the academic and research skills that I fall back on daily. My academic education determines my approach and my wording and has also contributed to my ability to find pragmatic solutions.

    All the course units that I followed have made me into the person I am now. There have been times when I wondered whether the degree programme was too broad, but I now find that its broadness has been very helpful: it has offered me a broad education and broad employability. I increasingly focus on certain subjects in my current job at my current school, in order to ultimately be able to specialize further in one topic.

    Sluiten
    – alumnus Manon Niemeijer
  • Testimonial van Opleidingsvideo

    Master track Ethics of Education: philosophy, history and law

    The Ethics of Education Master's track trains you to analyse and discuss moral, legal, practical and policy-related issues in the education domain.

    Would you like some examples? Watch the video!

    Sluiten
    – Opleidingsvideo
  • Testimonial van student Jan Jaap Zijlstra

    "Then I heard about the Master's programme Ethics of Education. In this programme, my questions are answered."

    Before I started this Master's degree programme, I followed the Bachelor's degree programme in Pedagogical Sciences, as well as the primary school teacher training. In those programmes, I ran into a lot of 'why' questions, which were not addressed. Then I heard about the Master's programme in Ethics of Education. In this programme, my questions are answered.

    Before I started this Master’s degree programme, I followed the Bachelor’s degree programme in Pedagogical Sciences, as well as the primary school teacher training. In those programmes, I ran into a lot of ‘why’ questions, which were not addressed. Then I heard about the Master’s programme Ethics of Education. In this programme, my questions are answered.

    What is the programme about? I would say that the focus is on the position of the child and the parties involved in the child’s care. Course units include Citizenship and Professionalization, which includes an analysis of past trends.

    You follow these courses units in the first semester. In the second semester you complete a work placement and write your thesis. I am currently on an placement at SLO, the National Centre for Expertise on Curriculum Development. Now I’m contributing to a book on curriculum development in Europe. I am very proud of that.

    The atmosphere at the programme is very good. It’s a small programme and I like that. You get to know each other quickly because you have a lot of discussions. The contact with the lecturers is also very nice. They all know you by name, really soon. I think the lecturers appreciate the atmosphere too: teaching a class that actually responds. That’s a change form delivering standard lectures for 400 people.

    I follow this Master’s degree programme because I am interested in children. The child is at the heart of the programme. Every discussion is about the child. Within that framework you can pursue your own interests. You are surrounded by people who have the same interests. The academic supervision is good, with frequent consultations and a lot of direct feedback. I really like it!

    Jan Jaap Zijlstra, 24 years old.

    Sluiten
    – student Jan Jaap Zijlstra
  • Testimonial van student Rosa María Guttiérez

    I really like the course unit 'Citizenship of Education', which looks at how education influences our democratic societies and how or why education should be responsible or not.

    My name is Rosa María Guttiérez. I am Mexican and I am 20 years old. I am following the Master's track 'Ethics of Education: Philosophy, History and Law'. Before starting this programme, I gained a Bachelor's degree in Pedagogy in Mexico City. Before studying Pedagogy, I started a programme in International Relations and Political Science, but I didn't finish it. I was looking for a Master's programme that would enable me to combine my interest in politics with my background in education.

    I compared programmes offered in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Nijmegen with the programme in Groningen, and the latter appealed to me most. The name of the programme indicates that it involves philosophy, which interests me, and I also didn’t want to go to a very big city. Mexico City is huge, and I was looking for a different lifestyle.

    I really like Groningen. It’s very nice. Because it is not a big city, everything is within cycling distance. It is a real student city, with a young and interesting population. There is a lot of art and there are different festivals. It’s also very international.

    Ethics of Education has helped me to understand what happens behind the scenes before decisions are made in the education field. We still have to find a way of giving voice to all the children we are trying to help or provide for. In this programme, you follow course units in the first semester. In the second semester you complete a placement and write your thesis. I am currently doing a placement at SLO, the Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development. Some course units focus on the legal background. I really like the course unit ‘Citizenship of Education’, which looks at how education influences our democratic societies and how or why education should be responsible or not.

    Sluiten
    – student Rosa María Guttiérez
  • Testimonial van alumnus Laura Hoogcarspel

    Laura manages and coaches pedigogical staff members at preschool and early childhood education day care centres

    Since September 2017, I have worked as preschool and early childhood education (VVE) coordinator for six child daycare centres in Haarlem, where I manage and coach about twenty pedagogical staff members. Between my graduation and my current job, I gained experience as manager in an institute for homework support.

    When studying Pedagogics in Groningen, I learnt a lot about child development and the factors influencing it. My graduation project focused on child daycare. It was my goal to become a pedagogue in child daycare, and my graduation project turned out to be instrumental in achieving this. I also apply the theoretical knowledge that I acquired in other course units to my job. At the same time, gaining practical experience really only begins once you start working.

    I noticed that the main benefit of the degree programme is its ‘meta’ approach; it teaches you to look critically and to do research; which questions should you ask to obtain the answers that you are looking for. Certain knowledge can sometimes also be used in unexpected ways. Statistical knowledge, for instance, helps provide more insight into turnover and staffing and enrolment figures.

    Sluiten
    – alumnus Laura Hoogcarspel
  • Testimonial van student Eline van der Raad

    During my internship at a primary school I found out that the communication between parents and teachers is often poor.

    After finishing the 'Academic Pabo', I felt a little too young to start working immediately. I wanted to learn more before I would start to teach others.

    I chose the Master’s programme ‘Ethics of Education’, because I was ınterested in moral issues that concern education. For me, that is more interesting than only focussing on policy issues in education. In this master’s programme, you examine what is best for a child. That is very often hard to say, because who decides what is best? The parents, the school or perhaps the child itself? It is very interesting to dive into those issues. I am happy that I decided to study this.

    A course İ really liked was ‘In the best interest of the child’. You learn how to make decisions when there is a dilemma and people have different opinions on what might be best for a child. An example would be if it is good for a child to skip a grade. Teachers, parents and children might all want something different. What would be a proper solution for that?

    My thesis is about parent involvement. I have always been interested in that. During my internship at a primary school I found out that the communication between parents and teachers is often poor. I studied a project at a school where parents coach their children individually in class. I am going to examine how that influences the inequality of opportunity for children. In The Netherlands there is a lot of inequality of opportunity caused by shadow education like private supplementary tutoring or homework coaching. Especially highly educated parents send their children to such courses. I am going to research if this project will have a positive or perhaps a negative effect on this.

    Eline van der Raad, master student Ethics of Education

    Sluiten
    – student Eline van der Raad
  • Testimonial van alumnus Manon Niemeijer

    Manon teaches and coordinates secondary school courses and develops the VWO curriculum

    I currently work as a teacher, mainly teaching Civics to HAVO 4 and VWO 4 pupils. In addition, I coordinate the VWO+ courses for highly gifted pupils, and I teach several courses to first and second-year VWO groups. I have many other tasks as well, such as supervising the Student Council and developing the VWO curriculum.

    I am interested in educational development, and there is plenty going on in education these days. The number of pupils at the school where I currently work has doubled in the past six years, and it seems that the organization has not always been able to fully keep up with that growth. This creates many chances and opportunities to think along about teaching, issues that require the academic and research skills that I fall back on daily. My academic education determines my approach and my wording and has also contributed to my ability to find pragmatic solutions.

    All the course units that I followed have made me into the person I am now. There have been times when I wondered whether the degree programme was too broad, but I now find that its broadness has been very helpful: it has offered me a broad education and broad employability. I increasingly focus on certain subjects in my current job at my current school, in order to ultimately be able to specialize further in one topic.

    Sluiten
    – alumnus Manon Niemeijer
  • Testimonial van student Jan Jaap Zijlstra

    "Then I heard about the Master's programme Ethics of Education. In this programme, my questions are answered."

    Before I started this Master's degree programme, I followed the Bachelor's degree programme in Pedagogical Sciences, as well as the primary school teacher training. In those programmes, I ran into a lot of 'why' questions, which were not addressed. Then I heard about the Master's programme in Ethics of Education. In this programme, my questions are answered.

    Before I started this Master’s degree programme, I followed the Bachelor’s degree programme in Pedagogical Sciences, as well as the primary school teacher training. In those programmes, I ran into a lot of ‘why’ questions, which were not addressed. Then I heard about the Master’s programme Ethics of Education. In this programme, my questions are answered.

    What is the programme about? I would say that the focus is on the position of the child and the parties involved in the child’s care. Course units include Citizenship and Professionalization, which includes an analysis of past trends.

    You follow these courses units in the first semester. In the second semester you complete a work placement and write your thesis. I am currently on an placement at SLO, the National Centre for Expertise on Curriculum Development. Now I’m contributing to a book on curriculum development in Europe. I am very proud of that.

    The atmosphere at the programme is very good. It’s a small programme and I like that. You get to know each other quickly because you have a lot of discussions. The contact with the lecturers is also very nice. They all know you by name, really soon. I think the lecturers appreciate the atmosphere too: teaching a class that actually responds. That’s a change form delivering standard lectures for 400 people.

    I follow this Master’s degree programme because I am interested in children. The child is at the heart of the programme. Every discussion is about the child. Within that framework you can pursue your own interests. You are surrounded by people who have the same interests. The academic supervision is good, with frequent consultations and a lot of direct feedback. I really like it!

    Jan Jaap Zijlstra, 24 years old.

    Sluiten
    – student Jan Jaap Zijlstra
  • Testimonial van student Rosa María Guttiérez

    I really like the course unit 'Citizenship of Education', which looks at how education influences our democratic societies and how or why education should be responsible or not.

    My name is Rosa María Guttiérez. I am Mexican and I am 20 years old. I am following the Master's track 'Ethics of Education: Philosophy, History and Law'. Before starting this programme, I gained a Bachelor's degree in Pedagogy in Mexico City. Before studying Pedagogy, I started a programme in International Relations and Political Science, but I didn't finish it. I was looking for a Master's programme that would enable me to combine my interest in politics with my background in education.

    I compared programmes offered in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Nijmegen with the programme in Groningen, and the latter appealed to me most. The name of the programme indicates that it involves philosophy, which interests me, and I also didn’t want to go to a very big city. Mexico City is huge, and I was looking for a different lifestyle.

    I really like Groningen. It’s very nice. Because it is not a big city, everything is within cycling distance. It is a real student city, with a young and interesting population. There is a lot of art and there are different festivals. It’s also very international.

    Ethics of Education has helped me to understand what happens behind the scenes before decisions are made in the education field. We still have to find a way of giving voice to all the children we are trying to help or provide for. In this programme, you follow course units in the first semester. In the second semester you complete a placement and write your thesis. I am currently doing a placement at SLO, the Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development. Some course units focus on the legal background. I really like the course unit ‘Citizenship of Education’, which looks at how education influences our democratic societies and how or why education should be responsible or not.

    Sluiten
    – student Rosa María Guttiérez
  • Testimonial van alumnus Laura Hoogcarspel

    Laura manages and coaches pedigogical staff members at preschool and early childhood education day care centres

    Since September 2017, I have worked as preschool and early childhood education (VVE) coordinator for six child daycare centres in Haarlem, where I manage and coach about twenty pedagogical staff members. Between my graduation and my current job, I gained experience as manager in an institute for homework support.

    When studying Pedagogics in Groningen, I learnt a lot about child development and the factors influencing it. My graduation project focused on child daycare. It was my goal to become a pedagogue in child daycare, and my graduation project turned out to be instrumental in achieving this. I also apply the theoretical knowledge that I acquired in other course units to my job. At the same time, gaining practical experience really only begins once you start working.

    I noticed that the main benefit of the degree programme is its ‘meta’ approach; it teaches you to look critically and to do research; which questions should you ask to obtain the answers that you are looking for. Certain knowledge can sometimes also be used in unexpected ways. Statistical knowledge, for instance, helps provide more insight into turnover and staffing and enrolment figures.

    Sluiten
    – alumnus Laura Hoogcarspel
  • Testimonial van student Eline van der Raad

    During my internship at a primary school I found out that the communication between parents and teachers is often poor.

    After finishing the 'Academic Pabo', I felt a little too young to start working immediately. I wanted to learn more before I would start to teach others.

    I chose the Master’s programme ‘Ethics of Education’, because I was ınterested in moral issues that concern education. For me, that is more interesting than only focussing on policy issues in education. In this master’s programme, you examine what is best for a child. That is very often hard to say, because who decides what is best? The parents, the school or perhaps the child itself? It is very interesting to dive into those issues. I am happy that I decided to study this.

    A course İ really liked was ‘In the best interest of the child’. You learn how to make decisions when there is a dilemma and people have different opinions on what might be best for a child. An example would be if it is good for a child to skip a grade. Teachers, parents and children might all want something different. What would be a proper solution for that?

    My thesis is about parent involvement. I have always been interested in that. During my internship at a primary school I found out that the communication between parents and teachers is often poor. I studied a project at a school where parents coach their children individually in class. I am going to examine how that influences the inequality of opportunity for children. In The Netherlands there is a lot of inequality of opportunity caused by shadow education like private supplementary tutoring or homework coaching. Especially highly educated parents send their children to such courses. I am going to research if this project will have a positive or perhaps a negative effect on this.

    Eline van der Raad, master student Ethics of Education

    Sluiten
    – student Eline van der Raad
  • Testimonial van alumnus Manon Niemeijer

    Manon teaches and coordinates secondary school courses and develops the VWO curriculum

    I currently work as a teacher, mainly teaching Civics to HAVO 4 and VWO 4 pupils. In addition, I coordinate the VWO+ courses for highly gifted pupils, and I teach several courses to first and second-year VWO groups. I have many other tasks as well, such as supervising the Student Council and developing the VWO curriculum.

    I am interested in educational development, and there is plenty going on in education these days. The number of pupils at the school where I currently work has doubled in the past six years, and it seems that the organization has not always been able to fully keep up with that growth. This creates many chances and opportunities to think along about teaching, issues that require the academic and research skills that I fall back on daily. My academic education determines my approach and my wording and has also contributed to my ability to find pragmatic solutions.

    All the course units that I followed have made me into the person I am now. There have been times when I wondered whether the degree programme was too broad, but I now find that its broadness has been very helpful: it has offered me a broad education and broad employability. I increasingly focus on certain subjects in my current job at my current school, in order to ultimately be able to specialize further in one topic.

    Sluiten
    – alumnus Manon Niemeijer
  • Testimonial van student Jan Jaap Zijlstra

    "Then I heard about the Master's programme Ethics of Education. In this programme, my questions are answered."

    Before I started this Master's degree programme, I followed the Bachelor's degree programme in Pedagogical Sciences, as well as the primary school teacher training. In those programmes, I ran into a lot of 'why' questions, which were not addressed. Then I heard about the Master's programme in Ethics of Education. In this programme, my questions are answered.

    Before I started this Master’s degree programme, I followed the Bachelor’s degree programme in Pedagogical Sciences, as well as the primary school teacher training. In those programmes, I ran into a lot of ‘why’ questions, which were not addressed. Then I heard about the Master’s programme Ethics of Education. In this programme, my questions are answered.

    What is the programme about? I would say that the focus is on the position of the child and the parties involved in the child’s care. Course units include Citizenship and Professionalization, which includes an analysis of past trends.

    You follow these courses units in the first semester. In the second semester you complete a work placement and write your thesis. I am currently on an placement at SLO, the National Centre for Expertise on Curriculum Development. Now I’m contributing to a book on curriculum development in Europe. I am very proud of that.

    The atmosphere at the programme is very good. It’s a small programme and I like that. You get to know each other quickly because you have a lot of discussions. The contact with the lecturers is also very nice. They all know you by name, really soon. I think the lecturers appreciate the atmosphere too: teaching a class that actually responds. That’s a change form delivering standard lectures for 400 people.

    I follow this Master’s degree programme because I am interested in children. The child is at the heart of the programme. Every discussion is about the child. Within that framework you can pursue your own interests. You are surrounded by people who have the same interests. The academic supervision is good, with frequent consultations and a lot of direct feedback. I really like it!

    Jan Jaap Zijlstra, 24 years old.

    Sluiten
    – student Jan Jaap Zijlstra
  • Testimonial van student Rosa María Guttiérez

    I really like the course unit 'Citizenship of Education', which looks at how education influences our democratic societies and how or why education should be responsible or not.

    My name is Rosa María Guttiérez. I am Mexican and I am 20 years old. I am following the Master's track 'Ethics of Education: Philosophy, History and Law'. Before starting this programme, I gained a Bachelor's degree in Pedagogy in Mexico City. Before studying Pedagogy, I started a programme in International Relations and Political Science, but I didn't finish it. I was looking for a Master's programme that would enable me to combine my interest in politics with my background in education.

    I compared programmes offered in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Nijmegen with the programme in Groningen, and the latter appealed to me most. The name of the programme indicates that it involves philosophy, which interests me, and I also didn’t want to go to a very big city. Mexico City is huge, and I was looking for a different lifestyle.

    I really like Groningen. It’s very nice. Because it is not a big city, everything is within cycling distance. It is a real student city, with a young and interesting population. There is a lot of art and there are different festivals. It’s also very international.

    Ethics of Education has helped me to understand what happens behind the scenes before decisions are made in the education field. We still have to find a way of giving voice to all the children we are trying to help or provide for. In this programme, you follow course units in the first semester. In the second semester you complete a placement and write your thesis. I am currently doing a placement at SLO, the Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development. Some course units focus on the legal background. I really like the course unit ‘Citizenship of Education’, which looks at how education influences our democratic societies and how or why education should be responsible or not.

    Sluiten
    – student Rosa María Guttiérez
  • Testimonial van alumnus Laura Hoogcarspel

    Laura manages and coaches pedigogical staff members at preschool and early childhood education day care centres

    Since September 2017, I have worked as preschool and early childhood education (VVE) coordinator for six child daycare centres in Haarlem, where I manage and coach about twenty pedagogical staff members. Between my graduation and my current job, I gained experience as manager in an institute for homework support.

    When studying Pedagogics in Groningen, I learnt a lot about child development and the factors influencing it. My graduation project focused on child daycare. It was my goal to become a pedagogue in child daycare, and my graduation project turned out to be instrumental in achieving this. I also apply the theoretical knowledge that I acquired in other course units to my job. At the same time, gaining practical experience really only begins once you start working.

    I noticed that the main benefit of the degree programme is its ‘meta’ approach; it teaches you to look critically and to do research; which questions should you ask to obtain the answers that you are looking for. Certain knowledge can sometimes also be used in unexpected ways. Statistical knowledge, for instance, helps provide more insight into turnover and staffing and enrolment figures.

    Sluiten
    – alumnus Laura Hoogcarspel
Feiten & Cijfers
Titel/Graad
MSc in Pedagogische Wetenschappen
Croho code
66607
Type opleiding
Master
Voertaal
Engels (100%)
Duur
12 maanden (60 ECTS)
Start
Februari, SeptemberFebruari, September
Vorm
voltijd
Faculteit
Gedrags- en maatschappijwetenschappen
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