Autonomy of the teacher

Tuesday 16 April 2024, 2:30 pm
PhD student
mr. J.S. Buiting
prof. dr. B.P. Vermeulen, prof. mr. dr. P.J.J. Zoontjens

Teachers play a key role in teaching classes, and in administering and assessing exams. They are experts on their subject matter, and know better than anyone how to teach in their discipline. Based on most education laws, teachers can claim substantive, subject-didactic and pedagogical autonomy; however, this is not always self-evident in practice. The reason is that it is up to the competent authority – based on freedom of education – to further organise the school, take responsibility for quality of education, and instruct teachers. In addition, pupils have their own expectations of education, and they and their parents have become increasingly empowered over time. Teachers’ autonomy – which is intended to enable them to tailor teaching to the needs of their pupils – has limited legal safeguards. For example, teachers do not have their own professional group that further gives shape to the profession by imposing a professional standard. This book examines the frameworks in which teachers in primary, secondary, vocational and higher education can claim autonomy in teaching, and administering and assessing examinations. The book focuses especially on examinations, as the resulting qualifications make such decisions particularly crucial to society, the competent authority, and pupils.

Job Buiting (1990) completed his Master's specialisations in Constitutional and Administrative Law and Civil Law at Radboud University Nijmegen in 2016. During his Master's programme, he was a board member of the Dutch Student Union (LSvB), following which he worked as a junior and later senior legislative lawyer at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science from 2016 to 2020. At the same time, from 2016 to 2018, he attended a post-initial Master's programme in Legislative Law at the Academy of Law. From 2016 to 2019, he also served as a sitting member of the Rent Tribunal. In 2019, he started working on his PhD dissertation as an external PhD candidate at Radboud University in Nijmegen. During the pandemic, starting from 2020, Job Buiting worked at the Covid-19 Programme Directorate of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) as a senior policy lawyer, and he joined the same ministry as a senior legislative lawyer in 2022.