Dennis van den Berg
Dennis van den Berg

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Advisor education

Dennis van den Berg

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Dennis works as an education advisor at Kennisland. Dennis thinks of education as a promise. The promise that happiness lies in the unknown. The promise that you can always do better. And the promise that there are opportunities for everyone. When education succeeds, it helps people in finding a job that suits them; it helps them to take responsibility as a citizen; and it helps them to grow as a person. This kind of education takes shape where inquisitive students and enthusiastic teachers meet. It is precisely this basic relationship that is under pressure in the current system. The system has become needlessly complex and bureaucratic, and poorly managed.

His educational ambitions started in his first year of college. At the interdisciplinary bachelor beta-gamma he got a taste of the best the sciences had to offer. From astronomy to sociology, from philosophy of language to cell biology, from robotics to psychology, and from logic to neurology. All this was presented by inspiring teachers, motivated fellow students and a challenging curriculum. A fire was lit that will never extinguish: the love of learning.

After he graduated his sociology master with honours, he started working as a researcher at the University of Applied Sciences (HvA) in Amsterdam in 2010. He worked on several qualitative projects. He evaluated a subsidy for local entrepreneurs++ResearchThe municipality of Amsterdam wanted to stimulate the local economy and liveability of the underdeveloped neighbourhoods outside of its city centre. The research Dennis did was an evaluation of this policy. The research also gave a rich picture of the lives behind the counters of those shops that colour the streets of Amsterdam. in five low-income neighbourhoods in Amsterdam. In another project he studied the housing needs of foreign students. And he reviewed the success and fail factors of project-based education. In 2012 Dennis got the opportunity to become a teacher himself, when he started working at the bachelor of Public Administration.

For five years he taught, developed and coordinated several courses (Sociology, Political Science, Urban Affairs, Professional Skills and Research, Thesis Supervision). He also started a new minor called ‘Drugs and Amsterdam (DEA): policy, practice and science’.++Drugs and AmsterdamThe minor Drugs and Amsterdam critically examines local, national and international drug policies. The minor shows the contradictions and complexities of both drugs and the policies that try to control the use and trade of it. Some questions that will be discussed, can be found in this video. As a young teacher he learned about the excessive workload due to structural lack of time and the excess of administrative tasks that teachers face. In response, he took a seatIn a parallel universe he would like to be Louis Theroux. in the representative advisory board. He successfully mobilised over 350 teachers (article – Dutch only) of the HvA to sign a petition against the huge workload.

Since 2017 he continues his fight for better education and a better education system at Kennisland. He is now working on a project that aims to reduce red tape in primary and secondary schools: Operatie Regels Ruimen (Operation Red Tape – Dutch only) and another project to reduce the gap between technical vocational  and higher education (StudentLab – Dutch only).

In his spare time he likes to hang out with his friends, travel, philosophise, visit the garden centre, write, change the world++New LeadersDuring his years in college Dennis set up a political initiative called New Leaders. As a part of the initiative the New Leaders organised several events and wrote several articles (Dutch only). , sit on his balcony, watch soccer, read a book, or wander through a city. He especially likes to be carried away by his curiosity. The sociological imagination draws him to people who do things slightly different. For that reason, he has interviewed all kinds of fascinating folk, like transgenders, avatars, drug dealers, drug users and polyamorous people. In a parallel universe he would like to be Louis Theroux.