‘MBO card is an impulse for cultural and citizenship education’

Since 2016, MBO students can visit museums and other cultural activities at a discount. They can use the MBO card for this. For the next two years, this discount card will also contain an amount that the cardholder can spend on a cultural activity. Just before the festive start on this Wednesday, November 23, MBO-today spoke with CJP director Walter Groenen. “This is what we’ve been working towards all these years.”

Before the summer, State Secretary for Culture and Media, Gunay Uslu, announced that from autumn she will make the culture budget available to all MBO students through the MBO card. During the next two years, a pilot must investigate, among other things, whether the MBO card is followed up with a budget. Any MBO institution can sign up for this pilot. You can do this via mbocard@cjp.nl. There are two ‘funding flavours’. Does the school itself invest €10.50 per student? Then students receive a bonus of €10.50 from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and a free CJP discount card. This means that there is €21 per student available for cultural activities in, for example, citizenship lessons. You can think about excursions, workshops and performances, which can take place both inside and outside the school. Is the school unwilling or unable to invest €10.50? Then an alternative variant is available. The student then receives a starting amount of €5.25, which can only be used for individual activities outside of classes.


“We actually wanted to introduce the MBO card with a budget in 2016,” says CJP director Walter Groenen. “This system has been our goal from the start, with the Kulturkorte for youth education as an example – a great success. But the Minister of Education at the time, Jet Bussemaker, believed that a card with cultural credits was still a step too far. She would give cultural institutions time to develop programs and the like that really meet the needs of MBO students. A lot has happened in recent years. Large cultural institutions such as the Rijksmuseum and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen have really thought carefully about how they can link their offer to vocational education, the different levels of education in upper secondary vocational education and the perceptions of these students. At Boijmans, for example, there is a program that examines how each person looks at something – in this case art – with their own perspective. You can then discuss it with each other for mutual understanding: we look at the same thing, but see something different.’

Such programs build a bridge between the cultural sector and MBO. A connection that is strengthened because the MBO institutions look at the cultural sector in a comparable way: What can museums, theaters and other cultural institutions mean to our vocational education or to our citizenship education? ‘We can build on that connection,’ emphasizes Groenen. “It requires a sustainable financing system that ensures that the cultural institutions’ offer can also be paid for on a structural basis. So the time is now ripe for the MBO card with a budget!’


This is good news for the student, but certainly also for the teacher. Groenen: ‘If you know that a cultural activity can be paid for, it is a hundred times easier to organize something for your students. You can really let this activity play a role in your teaching, as is also the case in youth education. Of course: MBO is not the same as youth education, where seniors have to take the course Cultural and Artistic Education (CKV). Nevertheless, there are all sorts of possibilities for implementing cultural education in MBO. In citizenship education, for example.’

Groenen sees various parallels between citizenship education and CKV. “For both, it’s about gaining experience and reflecting on those experiences. Cultural activities play a central role here. Thanks to the funding system, education can begin to do this. I have already mentioned the program for Boijmans van Beuningen, which is a really nice way to have a good conversation about mutual respect and understanding. There are also wonderful theater performances, for example by Theatergroep Drang, which for a reason we perform at the launch of the pilot. The players really know how to touch the audience and make them think. This is very target group-oriented: they address a group of high school students differently than a group of MBO students. I have great confidence in the success of this pilot.’


The pilot is not just about the MBO card with a budget. There are three other pillars. Including creating a marketplace for supply and demand. ‘Here you will find all the offers that the cultural sector has for MBO, including an order button. The demand comes from the schools that have a budget thanks to the MBO card. Another pilot pillar is the teacher portal. As a teacher, you can upload and download teaching materials there. Has a teacher, for example, developed a great teaching method together with a cultural institution? It will then be added to the portal so that other schools and teachers can also use it.’

MBO file

Finally, there is the fourth pilot component: the MBO dossier. Groenen: ‘It’s a file we offer students in collaboration with the school. The students can post the completed activities and reflect on this. It is very easy. For example, they can take a picture of a painting they like and then immediately add why they like it, what it does to them, etc. All activities and reflections form a portfolio that students can show to their teacher, e.g. in connection with citizenship education. The activity is thus directly rooted in education.’

“The pilot is therefore absolutely broader than just the MBO card with a budget,” concludes Groenen. “It’s really about a complete package of options for how you can use the cultural institutions’ tailored offers in your education. How to bring it to the teachers and how they get their students to work with it. Which pillar a school uses is optional. Still, I am sure that this will give both cultural education and citizenship education a huge boost in MBO!’

Schools can register to participate in the pilot. You can find out more or register your school directly via: mbocard@cjp.nl.
Want to know more about the pilot? Then read the press release about the launch or go to https://onderwijs.cjp.nl/cjp-in-het-mbo.

Read also: MBO Card is being expanded with a cultural budget

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