Policy and Organization

In 2009 the division counted approximately 80 members. The greater part of this group is connected to Dutch universities and research institutions where they are active as professor, (senior) university lecturer, project leader, researcher and assistant-in-training. Some members are connected to universities in Belgium. Furthermore, a share of the members is active in the practice of education. Thereby representatives from the education services structure, the state- and communal authorities, education consultancy bureaus and education organisations might especially be considered.


The Division Policy and Organization aims to:

  • Promote research in the domain of policy and organisation in education
  • Increase –where desired and possible, the practical relevance of research in this domain
  • Promote communication between researchers of education and those practicing in education
  • Promote national and international communication with people operating in the domain of the Division

It wants to contribute to answering two questions:
1. How is educational policy and organisation to be clarified and improved?
2. How is the contribution from policy and organisation towards educational processes to be clarified and improved?

ad1. Policy and organisation in education are seen here as phenomena of which we would like to know more about because they individually concern important phenomena relevant to all in education. The societal demands on education have changed and one might say, intensified. These demands are made both directly and indirectly on education. Policy and organisation act as mediators between society and internal education processes. In order for this mediating role to succeed, it is apparent that a solid reorganisation of the policy and organisation system is occasionally necessary. The changes made in policy and organisation have been particularly noticeable in the last ten years. Reflecting on the existing policy and organisation structure and culture is the Division members’ first motivation. 
ad2. Policy and organisation contribute in different ways (both directly and indirectly) to processes and results in education. Studying the contributions in their relation to the primary process is a task of the division. These contributions lie less in explaining the direct differences in, for example, student achievements - although that is obviously a crucial component, and more in the indirect, contributions of policy and organisation in the structure, progression and profits from education by creating conditions and steering processes. 

Policy and organisation of education are strongly layered. Earlier there were, principally, about two layers: the ministry and the teacher. Nowadays the stratification includes: the ministry, regional collaborations, local authorities, larger school boards, large educational organisations with more locations, small and distributed boards and organisations, school units, organisation units, subject departments and teachers. Although this stratification will simplify in years to come, as a subject of study and action it is and will remain a fascinating phenomenon. For each layer or group of layers we are looking for measures of effectiveness. Thus, we are able to, for example, look at school boards. When do school boards function well? When are they effective? The size of administrative efficacy is subsequently an input variable, alongside other input variables, for similar efficacy questions at a next level, for example, that of the organisation. This process repeats itself until at the level of learning outcomes of pupils, students, and course and training participants. 
For each layer, the Division pays attention to the different instrumentation that there is. At the policy level, for example, it is about Integrated Human Resource Policy IPB, employment policy, funding policy and quality objectives to realise specific policy goals and about the responsibility of implemented policy to various stakeholders. Policy subjects concerning the structure of organisations and training are also of importance. At the administrative- and organisation level, management- and organisation aspects require attention. Next to this, the structure and culture of the school organisation is studied. The management receive attention through studies of leadership styles, integral and functional management; financial, educational, personnel- and knowledge management similarly receive attention.


The annual activities that the division Policy and Organization undertakes include: 

  • Organisation of the Division’s theme during the annual Education Research Days
  • Organisation of meetings about a topic concerning policy and organisation in education
  • Co-organisation of congresses, symposia or meetings in collaboration with other professional societies
  • Maintenance of contact with the European Educational Research Association and other professional societies within The Netherlands and abroad.
  • Maintenance of contact with policy makers and policy influencers within the Dutch education system. 
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