Steve Jobs schools may be freed from teaching hours rules

Junior education minister Sander Dekker is looking into whether a new form of primary education, based on iPads, can be exempt from rules on teaching hours.

Dutch primary schools are required to provide a fixed number of hours of lessons. However, Dekker said he is looking to see if the law can be applied more flexibly for this new form of education, based on iPads.

Dekker said in answer to questions from Socialist MPs that he supports educational innovation and says there is no reason to worry ‘in advance’ about the arrival of Steve Jobs schools in the Netherlands.

However, the schools will have to meet Dutch educational standards and the education ministry will be monitoring them closely, the minister said.

No books

Seven Steve Jobs schools are opening at the start of this academic year and four others will follow. The schools do not have classrooms but open areas and there are no books. Children may also work at home and there are no fixed hours.

Founder Maurice De Hond says the school philosophy is based on the ‘toddler revolution’ in which all children are now growing up with tablet computers.

Children who go to an iPad school will grow up better equipped for the future because of their digital skills, De Hond told RTL. ‘Pupils can develop their own talents far more. They will not be limited by what the school offers. They will also be more independent and creative.’

The Netherlands has a tradition of embracing other sorts of education and already has Montessori, Jena Plan and Dalton schools, for example, De Hond said.

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