De rol van cultuureducatie bij het bevorderen van culturele diversiteit in het primair onderwijs = The role cultural education plays in promoting cultural diversity in primary education

Publication Type:



Cultuurnetwerk Nederland, Utrecht (2002)



The aim of this study is to identify the needs of primary schools teachers for programs on cultural diversity. In this study culturally diverse educational programs are programs that teach children that: there are different forms of art in the world; each art form reflects the values, attitudes and beliefs of a particular culture or subculture; there are different styles and genres; they are performed or made by a professional artist (or similar) and is not purely meant for entertainment; and that there is a relationship with the social environment of the children.
This study was commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in order to explore the effects of their policy measures.


Research questions

This study examines the following questions:

  • How do primary school teachers interpret the term 'a cultural divers educational program'?
  • Where and in which disciplines do teachers engage cultural programs? What experience do they have with cultural divers programs?
  • Do teachers use cultural divers programs to achieve core objectives in the subjects 'Arts & Culture' and 'Orientation on yourself and the World'?
  • Do primary schools feel a need for cultural divers programs?
  • Do teachers feel that pupils who have experienced cultural programs and divers cultural and artistic expressions are more appreciative of diverse cultures? Wat kind of programs do teachers think would help pupils become aware that they live in multicultural society?


    The study was conducted in three parts. To begin with literature was studied and interviews were held with primary school teachers. Secondly, telephone interviews were taken with 150 schools. Fifty schools were chosen equally out of 3 category's: schools with children with a non-migrant background, mixed schools with 8% – 12% of children with a migrant background and schools that have 50% or more children with a migrant background. Thirdly, three groups of pupils were interviewed that had taken part in programs on cultural diversity. No conclusions were taken from these interviews. The experience of these pupils are illustrative.


    The term 'culturally diverse educational program' was not a  term teachers could relate to given the definition used by policy makers (see the definition above.) Teachers preferred to use the term 'multicultural'. For the purpose of this report the term 'multicultural' is used.

    Nearly 80% of schools that visited a performance or exhibition did this through an intermediary organization that organizes 'arts menu's'. Music, theater and dance were most popular.

    40% of the programs visited touched on the theme of multiculturalism. In schools of non-migrant background this was 30%. Multicultural programs were in most cases performed by a mix of Dutch artists and artists with a migrant background, 20% were performed by Dutch artists only. Teachers from school of all three categories gave the multicultural programs a high rating. In nearly all cases their expectations and that of their pupils were fulfilled. Most programs incorporated the perceptions and social environment of the pupils.

    In the school subjects 'Arts & Culture' and 'Orientation on yourself and the World' is the multicultural society a theme. 75% of the programs visited were visited with these school subjects in mind but did not necessarily touch on the theme of the multicultural society.

    The need for multicultural programs is felt by 76% of schools (86% schools of a migrant background, 78% mixed schools, 56%  non-migrant schools). The majority use the programs for the school subjects  'Orientation on yourself and the World', Geography and History. Sometimes for school projects, themes or art subjects.

    A large number of schools feel that pupils who are confronted with multicultural programs appreciate cultures and artistic expressions more. Of non-migrant schools this is 84%.  A significant number have no meaning or don't know.

    When asked the question what kind of programs do you think would help pupils become aware of the multicultural society very few thought that programs couldn't achieve this. Teachers posed that programs should:

  • reflect on as many different cultural identities as possible
  • recognize and respect each other's cultures
  • recognize that all art and cultures are valuable
  • have a mixture of migrant and non-migrant artists
  • be inviting and understandable for all ages as well as taking into account the perceptions of children
  • linking Western and non-Western cultures
  • cultivate understanding by explaining customs.