Friday 14 August 2020

iPad-based Steve Jobs schools can count on parliamentary support

A new Dutch primary education system, based on Apple’s iPads, plans to launch 11 schools in August and can count on majority support in parliament, the Volkskrant reported on Saturday.

Each child at a Steve Jobs school will be given an iPad at the age of four and allowed to decide what and when to learn. Teachers will take the role of coaches rather than lesson-givers.

‘The school is no longer confined to fixed school holidays. Care and school merge together and the buildings will be open from 07.30 to 18.30 every day,’ the organisation says on its website.

So far the foundation behind the schools, which was set up by opinion pollster Maurice de Hond, has plans to open 11 institutions at the start of the next school year. Three will be located in Amsterdam, with others in Sneek, Emmen, Almere, Breda, Maastricht, Heenvliet and Amstelveen.

Support

The Education for a New Era foundation (ON4T) has the support of several prominent educationalists as well as Vodafone and publisher ThiemeMeulenhoff, the Volkskrant says.

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

The starting point of this new educational concept is ‘the development of the individual child’, De Hond told the paper. ‘But this approach can only work by using the newest soft and hardware, such as the iPad’.

Approval

The Volkskrant asked all the parties represented in parliament for their thoughts on the new project and found almost universal approval, apart from the anti-immigration PVV.

A spokesman for the ruling Liberal VVD told the paper: ‘Education cannot stand still while the world around us is changing, particularly in terms of technology’. Socialist Party spokesman Jasper van Dijk said ‘learning words by rote has had its day’.

The PVV, however, says it is extremely concerned about the new school policy. Harm Beertma, who worked in education for 34 years, said the schools are an experiment and young children will be the victims.

‘Everyone is talking about the Einstein generation as if a new sort of person has developed,’ Beertma said.

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