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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Continuing professional development for academic staff working in higher education


9.Teachers and education staff

9.6Continuing professional development for academic staff working in higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

9.6 Continuing Professional Development for Education Personnel in Higher Education

Organisational aspects

According to the National Education Agreement continuing professional development is a right: all teachers without exception must be able to maintain and develop their level of competence. It is also an obligation: the quality of education, the importance of the profession and growing professional autonomy make ongoing development a must for teachers.

There are plans to introduce a compulsory Register of Teachers in higher education.

  • The register will help teachers get the training they need while at the same time providing accountability on teachers’ qualifications.

  • HBO institutions and universities currently provide most training in-house.

Teacher development grants

Good teachers are essential for good education.

  • Agreements on teachers’ professional development are set out in the 2013-2020 Teachers Agenda, which was drawn up in consultation with teachers, school leaders, governing bodies and teacher trainers.

  • To enable teachers to keep their professional skills up to date, every teacher in the Netherlands, including those in higher professional education, is entitled to a grant from the teacher development fund once in their teaching career. They may use it to study for a second bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.

From 2015, all teachers must be given sufficient time, funding and opportunity to maintain their professional skills.

  • Collective labour agreements contain agreements about the time and facilities available for in-service training and continuing professional development.

  • The government wants teaching staff at HBO institutions to hold at least a master’s degree.

  • In 2013 it therefore set aside an extra €14 million for approximately 1,800 teacher development grants.

For more information about teacher development grants see chapter 9.1.

Grants for courses elsewhere in the EU

The teacher development grant can also be used to follow a bachelor’s or master’s course elsewhere in the EU, providing the level is equivalent to courses in the Netherlands. This is assessed by the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic) , which then issues an advisory opinion to the Education Executive Agency (DUO).  The conditions for receiving a teacher development grant can be found on the DUO website.

PhD grants for teachers

Teachers who want to obtain a doctorate degree may be eligible for a PhD grant. The grant enables them to conduct doctoral research at a university and write a dissertation. For more information about PhD grants, see chapter 9.1.

Incentives for participation in continuing professional development (CPD) activities

As in other education sectors, there is a diversified system of posts and salaries for teachers in higher professional education. The agreements are set out in the Voluntary Agreement for the Teaching Profession in the Netherlands. For more information about this system, see chapters 9.1 and 9.3.