Key Implications

Developing and sustaining partnerships and networks

Implications for future programme development

The Netherlands’ approach to GOAL differs radically from the approaches of the other partner countries. The diffused nature of GOAL in the Netherlands means that the programme is particularly dependent on the establishment of strong partnerships, with partners themselves administering the Literacy Screener and then referring potential clients on to another organisation. Whereas in other countries GOAL is a discrete service that works with partners, in the Netherlands GOAL is more of a process distributed across a network of organisations. This has clear implications for programme development: partners must be convinced of the benefits of contributing to GOAL, despite the administrative and other burdens this creates for themselves.

For the penitentiary institutions, both internal and external cooperation are important: internal cooperation to ensure that detainees with an indication of low literacy enter a suitable language course, and external cooperation to continue support in this area outside the penitentiary institution. The latter still requires attention at both penitentiary institutions. The internal cooperation can also still be improved at one penitentiary institution; see chapter 8 for more about this.

Policy implications

Implications of policy

In the Netherlands, the education funds are decentralised to municipalities. This creates the willingness locally to set up and improve the approach and collaboration. As part of the decentralised approach, language points form the axis of local networks. The interviews showed that language points are an important success factor for a well-functioning network.

Implications for policy

Because of the diffused nature of GOAL in the Netherlands, policy support may be particularly important. By encouraging and supporting GOAL activities across a range of partners, policy may help GOAL to better establish itself, and thus to contribute to broader policy objectives. It is notable that, in general, the Netherlands has a strong policy focus on improving literacy and numeracy skills, and GOAL is seen as contributing to this policy.

A well-functioning network requires commitment from all parties involved. First of all, there needs to be a commitment from municipalities due to their subsidising role.  There must therefore be at least one person within the municipal council who explicitly feels they are the owner of the low literacy problem. To support sustainability, this ownership should be part of the job role.



"GOAL interview: a client came to discuss a program for validation of employability skills, in which she is going to participate."

"In-house discussions with other counsellors and project managers on an unexpected issue with a student. We tried to solve the issue together. We had to contact another school."


“Presentation for unemployed people about possibilities to get involved into the Goal project and get free of charge orientation and guidance.”

“Orientation and guidance of adult people. 2 clients are consulted: they are unemployed and have plans for learning a new profession in order to find a job.“


“The prison population and educational needs of the detainees are far from homogeneous.”

 “Usually, there are 6 to 8 detainees at a time, each with an individual program. I guide them. The guidance can be focused on basic education, vocational education or specific courses detainees are taking at that time”


"Working with clients gives me energy and brings me joy, because between individual sessions I can see progress, changes, new beliefs, enrolment in education programmes and I can build good relationships with my clients."


"The feeling that I do a lot of good for my clients is priceless."

Czech Republic
Czech Republic

“At the start of every session, counsellors try to gather information about the client, his or her position within the family and wider friendship circles, and his or her health. They also explore the client’s feelings, ideas and motivation.”

“Based on the client’s answers, the counsellor selects ways to proceed in order to meet the client’s needs and goals.”


"All information, agreements made and steps taken during sessions are written down in the registration system"

“Even the names of persons clients have been talking about are registered in order to remember the whole communication line and, more importantly, to avoid them having to say things twice. It creates a sense of trust with our clients.”


from clients, counsellors and stakeholders


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