Minister Dijkgraaf, team LiS
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During the Comenius Festival, nine education teams from mbo schools, colleges, and universities received the Dutch Education Premium from Robbert Dijkgraaf last week. The Dutch Education Premium of the NRO is the highest award in secondary vocational education and higher education. The presentation was one of Dijkgraaf’s last acts as minister.

The lecturer teams will receive 1.2 million euros, 800,000 euros, or 500,000 euros, respectively, with which they can further develop their projects. The prize also encourages teachers to continue working on educational innovation and knowledge sharing.

Leiden Instrument Makers School

One of the prizes went to a unique space project of the Leiden Instrument Makers School (LiS). Space is fascinating to many and is often seen as complex and unsuitable for the mbo. The LiS demonstrates otherwise.

“The space world holds appeal for many students. Yet many mbo students see it as a world without a place for them. And that is wrong,” the school explains in a clarification. It turns out that companies are very eager to hire MBO graduates. “With the development of this elective, we have two goals. First, we want to show students that there is indeed a future for MBO students in the aerospace world. Second, we want to prepare them to work in this world. Experts from the field provide the education so that the course is and remains relevant and current.”

Space experts as teachers

In consultation with various parties from the space world, a program was created especially for MBO students. From this, a program emerged that was supported by everyone but remained diverse. “These differences in emphasis allowed us to find the experts for the individual lesson components quickly. What these experts from the field find important, they also want to explain to the students. In addition, the experts visit each other’s classes so that coherence is guaranteed and there is room for interesting cross-pollinations.”

The emphasis during classes is on connecting theory with practice. Therefore, many theory lessons are held on location at companies and institutions. The students can then immediately relate theory to practice.

The lessons are centered around a professional product, which students can work on during the elective part. The feedback sessions and test moments in the program ensure that a space program can be replicated on a small scale.

According to the program, there are several returns to report from this project. “First of all, the students are delighted with the education offered in this way. They greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak with experts. In addition, they report that they have gained a much better idea of what working in space entails.” This development has also led to much better networking of the LiS in the space world, for example, with SRON. “It is now the case that companies and institutions, including universities and colleges, contact us to work together, rather than the other way around as usually happened in the past.”

The partners in the project are also satisfied. They see the added value of contributing to the project, resulting, among other things, in more projects and graduate internships for the students. “It is even the case that companies that previously did not employ MBO students at all now recognize that MBO students are of great added value within their organizations.”

MBO teams:

  1. Interculturele Coach Onderwijsassistent (Alfa-college – 1,2 miljoen euro) 
  2. Instrumentatie voor de Ruimtevaart en verder (Leidse instrumentmakers School – 800.000 euro)
  3. Het internationale TEAMS-project voor maritieme ondernemers van de toekomst (STC – 500.000 euro)

College teams:

  1. PACE: een toekomstbestendig opleidingsconcept voor (zorg)opleidingen (HAN University of Applied Sciences – 1,2 miljoen euro)
  2. LEREN MAKEN DELEN, een podium voor onderwijsvernieuwing (Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten en ArtEZ – 800.000 euro)
  3. #Together(Hogeschool Rotterdam – 500.000 euro)

University teams:

  1. De Klas op Orde met Virtual Reality (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen – 1,2 miljoen euro)
  2. SpringLab VU (Vrije Universiteit – 800.000 euro)
  3. De Pe(e)rfect Vaardig methode (Open Universiteit – 500.000 euro)