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Analysis of recent policy developments in green education in The Netherlands

Kupper, H.A.E.; Laurentzen, R.M.B.; Mulder, M.

Summary

Purpose: To present a description of recent developments in the Dutch green educational system (agriculture, living environment, food). The article builds on a previous 2006 contribution to "JAEE" where different scenarios for changes in green education were suggested. Design/methodology/approach: An analysis of policy documents from Dutch governmental bodies as well as strategic documents from educational institutes. Furthermore the outcomes of discussions with administrators, program leaders, policy-makers and executives were used to attribute value to importance and priority of strategic issues. Findings: The green sector in the Netherlands is facing great challenges: competition with building, infrastructure and recreation for arable land; acceptance of production methods by critical citizens; changes in European agricultural policy; attractiveness of the green sector for young people and a decrease of labor supply. Green education can contribute to solutions to these challenges/problems by building a strong organizational structure, providing the sector with adequate and up-to-date knowledge and by offering attractive learning environments. The foundation of the Green Knowledge Co-operative is such a solution to which much attention is given in this article. Practical implications: The Knowledge Co-operative in Dutch green education can serve as a practical answer to changes in the green sector that are taking place in many other countries. The common effort of more or less autonomous educational institutes described in this article will be recognizable as an example for other regions in the world. Originality/value: The article emphasizes the need for an agile educational system that is strongly related to a particular economic sector "in casu" agriculture, living environment and food. For vocational education, by its nature affiliated with sectors or domains, there is a continuing necessity to adapt the developments in economic sectors. Explaining the Dutch way can contribute to policy decisions in similar situations elsewhere. (Contains 1 note, 1 table, and 3 figures.)