On Wednesday 8 October, the first 25 students to take the Academic Teacher-Training for Primary Education (Opleiding Leraar Basisonderwijs or AOLB) programme in Groningen were awarded their degrees. These 25 students started the special 4-year combined university and university of applied sciences programme in 2010. The students will receive two degree certificates; one for completing Primary School Teacher Training College and one for obtaining a university Bachelor’s degree in Pedagogical Sciences. This combination qualifies the graduates to teach primary school children and perform other duties, such as conducting research and initiating activities designed to improve and safeguard teaching standards. The degree ceremony will take place in the Aula of the Academy Building of the University of Groningen.
Despite the tight labour market in the north of the Netherlands, almost half of the students have found employment in the education sector and most of them are also continuing their studies. Some school boards in East-Groningen, Emmen and Heerenveen actively recruited these graduates to take advantage of their combined skills set, which allows them to teach and improve the overall quality of teaching.
The Academic Teacher-Training for Primary Education programme is run by the department of Pedagogy & Educational Sciences of the University of Groningen and the teacher training colleges of Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Stenden University of Applied Sciences, location Groningen, and NHL University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden. Some 90 students embark on the 4-year programme each year, which means that almost 300 prospective teachers are taking the programme at any one time. They attend lectures in Groningen, and do a period of practical training in classrooms in the North-Netherlands region every year. The programme concentrates on the link between theory and practice, with a particular focus on teaching the students to conduct and implement research independently.
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