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University of Groningen to Launch Primary School Teacher Training College

12 January 2010
In September 2010, the University of Groningen is to launch a university-based teacher training programme for primary school teachers, in collaboration with three primary school teacher training colleges in the north: Hanzehogeschool Groningen, NHL Hogeschool, and the Groningen branch of Stenden Hogeschool. Together, these four parties intend to boost the quality of primary education in the northern Netherlands.

Enrolment in this university-based teacher training programme is only open to a limited number of students, starting with 60 students in 2010. These will embark on an integrated four-year programme, leading up to two Bachelor’s degrees: a Primary School Teacher Training Diploma and a university Educational Sciences Degree, with a specialization in Theory of Education. Application proceedings for prospective students are due to start in March and will close on 15 May to allow for the subsequent student selection procedure.

Tough programme

In contrast with regular teacher training colleges, this academic teacher training college will not be open to holders of senior general secondary education diplomas but only to students with pre-university diplomas. The BA degree programme will be a taxing one, says Greetje van der Werf, Professor of Teaching and Learning at the University of Groningen: ‘Students will be taking the entire primary school teacher training programme along with a fair share of the Theory of Education curriculum. Students will engage in placements at primary schools right from the start and, in their fourth year, they will be combining their placements with writing up their Bachelor’s theses.’  After four years, students will obtain a BA degree in Educational Sciences and a primary school teacher training diploma.

Distinct profile

There is a lot of interest in a university-based teacher training programme for primary education. A similar programme was launched in Utrecht in September 2008, and other universities followed suit soon after that. The University of Groningen means to create a distinct profile for its own programme to set it off from other university-based teacher training programmes. It will be offering the programme in partnership with not just a single but several teacher training colleges in the northern Netherlands, and students will be taking both academic and teacher training courses as a single group as much as possible.

Coherence

Van der Werf: ‘We want students to feel truly committed to the programme and to each other. Commitment, ambition and dedication are preconditions for successfully completing the programme. We’ll make sure that the academic courses, teacher training courses and placements are properly integrated, so we won’t be offering a mishmash of courses but a solid programme based on a sound curriculum, a feasible timetable and clear examination regulations.’ This is why the current academic year 2009-2010 serves as a preparatory year to make sure all arrangements are finalised to a T.  ‘Rather than being the first in everything, we prefer to be the best’, says Van der Werf.

A stronger foundation

The quality of primary education has been cause for concern for quite some time now, and Education Inspectorate reports have not been mild in their assessment of education in the North. Van der Werf: ‘As a university, we have a responsibility to the region. By combining teacher training courses with academic training, future teachers will lay a stronger foundation. Not only will they learn how to be good teachers but they will also acquire theoretical and empirical knowledge of developmental and learning processes, upbringing and education. They will learn how to carry out research projects. And, not of the least importance: they will develop a discerning mind.’

Contact

- Dr M.P.C. van der Werf, tel. + 31  363 66 57

- For the latest information on the programme and to apply: www.rug.nl/aolb

Last modified:30 November 2017 3.29 p.m.

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