Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Improving the Minor in Teaching to increase the number of Mathematics and Science students enrolled in teacher education

The Minor in Teaching was introduced in 2009 as a new initiative to introduce and prepare bachelor students for teaching. Student numbers are low, however, especially of mathematics and science students.

2017 - 2019
Alma Kuijpers
Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of The Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of The Netherlands
  • Department of Science Education and Communication of Delft University of Technology
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering of the University of Groningen


  • dr.ir. Alma Kuijpers – post-doc researcher
  • dr. Michiel Dam – co-supervisor
  • prof.dr.ir. F.J.J.M. Janssen – supervisor

Research questions

  • Why do Mathematics and Science students choose teaching as a career?
  • To what extent does the Minor in Teaching meet its initial goals as well as the expectations of major stakeholders?
  • Which interventions will increase student numbers in the Minor in Teaching and facilitate that more students subsequently enroll in the Master in Teaching?

Project description

The Netherlands is facing a teacher shortage, especially in Mathematics and Science subjects. In 2009, a Minor in Teaching was introduced, which offers a one semester teaching module during the third year of the bachelor period. The original goals of the Minor in Teaching were providing students with an introduction to teaching, offering a qualification for teaching in the lower years of secondary school, which, it was expected, would lead to higher student numbers in the Master in Teaching.

While the number of bachelor students in Mathematics and Science studies in the Netherlands significantly increased over the last ten years, the number of students enrolled  in the Minor in Teaching remained at a low and constant level. In addition, to-date only twenty percent of minor students from the universities of Delft and Leiden proceed to enroll in a Master in Teaching.

In this project, the Minor in Teaching is studied from two perspectives. Firstly, from the perspective of the academic and career development of a STEM teacher. Secondly, from the perspective of stakeholders involved in the recruitment of Mathematics and Science teachers.

Why does a student in mathematics or science choose to become a teacher? By studying starting STEM teachers, the aim is to identify which key activities and experiences  contributed to their choice for teaching as a career. This will provide more insight into the career development process and identify leverage points for teacher recruitment.

How can the Minor in Teaching become more effective in the recruitment of Mathematics and Science Teachers? In this study, based on interviews with major stakeholders (including representatives from university science faculties, secondary schools, university-based teacher education programs, and Mathematics and Science students) it is evaluated whether the current Minor in Teaching meets its original goals, and which aspects of the Minor in Teaching can be improved to increase its effectivity.


Identification of leverage points to increase the number of Mathematics and Science students enrolling in the academic Master in Teaching.

Foto: Jon Feingersh / Blend / Learning Pictures / Universal Images Group

Relations with other projects

This project is part of a national program ‘stimulering instroom educatieve minor’ from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science of The Netherlands.

Eindrapport vergroting instroom (in Dutch)

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