Repositioning the school

The classic public value of higher education in the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden, is twofold: qualification for a profession and preparation for participation in society. For the future labour market this is no longer sufficient. Participants must be prepared for lifelong learning and continuous change. Furthermore, there are two more public values: maintaining qualifications of adult workers and entrepreneurs (lifelong learning) and contributing to the innovation of professions and economic activity (regional innovation) (Moore, 1995, source: Mark H. Moore Creating Public Value, Strategic Management in Government). When reassessing, education organisations may vary how to prioritize those three public values and how they fill it in. In addition, the higher education organisation can claim choices to the extent that these assignments are developed in parallel, or even be used to reinforce each other.

A theoretic model

(source: Digitaal Handboek Regionale Verankering, HAN | Kenniscentrum kwaliteit van leren

Aimée Hoeve, Femke Timmermans, Loek Nieuwenhuis, Derk-Jan Nijman m.m.v. Woody Maijers, Gonneke Leereveld)



life long




The model that has been developed, provides insight into the choices, made by the education institution. The model consists of three coloured balls. Each sphere represents one of the three public values: initial training, lifelong learning, regional innovation. The balls can vary in size, according to the time and attention spent to a specific public value.


The challenge for educational institutions, as mentioned, is to try to find new legitimacy in the transition.  Based on the three spheres model, three possible development scenarios are appointed:

1. Focus on the social question as a dominant value: education.

2. Focus on sector specialization with a multi-value: education, lifelong learning and innovation.

3. Focus on (vertical) craftsmanship with the dominant values: education and lifelong learning.





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Using the above model, three possible development scenarios have been outlined to help the education institutes to think about their position in the region now and in the future. This process can be facilitated with an interactive exercise that determines the focus of the educational organisation.


The exercise can be repeated in several groups with different participants: for instance management board, teachers, companies from the region, regional government, students, etc.. The groups can also be mixed. By doing the exercises with different target groups, different perspectives can be taken into account when drawing the current and desired position of the institution in the region.


For the exercise, the following five steps can be used as a guideline (see below). The result of a workshop or exercise is the current position of the educational institution in the region and the desired position of the educational institution in the region. When more than one exercise is done with different target groups, the different models/positions of the institution can be compared with each other.



Participants are asked to make a display of the current situation using the 3 balls model.

Participants are asked to make a display of the desirable situation in the future using the 3 balls model.



Update the three spheres from all the answers. Think about the size of each sphere and the way in which the balls are interrelated.

Apply the differences and similarities between the current and future map.



Determine how to preserve what is going well and what is needed to bridge the differences.

IO 2

IO 3

IO 4

IO 5

Developing  learning networks in the region

Capacity building

Management toolbox

Transnational pilot