Under the Education Inspection Act responsibility for the quality of education rests with educational institutions themselves. They must however comply with legislation that sets out minimum quality standards for all types of education. In the Netherlands, the Inspectorate of Education is responsible for ensuring that all educational institutions meet these statutory, basic quality standards. It also encourages schools and their governing bodies to pursue their own ambitions for the standard of teaching and where possible make improvements.
The Inspectorate oversees government-funded educational institutions and recognised private institutions that offer accredited study programmes leading to a qualification. The Education Inspection Act lays down the statutory parameters for supervision.
The Inspectorate of Education also assesses the quality of early childhood education (ECE) at childcare centres (preschool provision) and primary schools (early years education) and checks whether municipalities have made agreements about ECE. Supervision of early childhood education is separate from supervision of childcare provision. ECE inspectors assess the quality of preschool provision and ECE, as well as the quality of municipal policies underpinning such programmes. Childcare inspectors monitor whether municipalities are meeting their obligations to facilitate supervision of childcare centres by the municipal health service (GGD).
The Netherlands-Flanders Accreditation Organisation (NVAO) monitors the quality of higher professional education institutions (HBO, or hogescholen) and universities. It accredits established and new programmes of study and assesses higher education institutions’ own systems for quality assurance. The Inspectorate of Education does not supervise the Netherlands-Flanders Accreditation Organisation as such, but rather the functioning of the accreditation system in the Netherlands.