Tackling the problem of early school dropouts is one of the priorities of the Dutch government. The target is to have no more than 25 000 early school leavers per year by 2016. In 2012, school dropout rate in the Netherlands decreased to 8.8%.
Youth unemployment in the Netherlands is on the rise. In 2011, it was 9.8%; in January 2013 it had already increased to 15%. In January, 7.5% of the total working population was unemployed. Unemployment is especially high among VET students without a basic qualification (ISCED level 2), students looking for apprenticeships and work placements or youngsters with a non-western foreign background.
Teachers have an important role to play in the quality of schools. New (policy) initiatives are therefore regularly launched in the Netherlands to strengthen teachers’ professionalism.
The first signs that students are at a higher risk of dropping out of school are already visible in the first year of secondary school. This is one of the conclusions of the PhD thesis Early school-leaving in the Netherlands. A multidisciplinary study of risk and protective factors explaining early school-leaving, by T. Traag, researcher at Statistics Netherlands, who received her PhD at Maastricht University on 13 December 2012.
In 2010, the national associations of employers and employees, the Dutch Association of VET Colleges (the umbrella organisation of VET providers) and the umbrella organisation of the centres of expertise VET – Trade and industry signed a declaration of intent for the establishment of a new foundation which started on 1 January 2012.
The Dutch government wishes to strengthen the quality of education in all sectors. During the first half of 2011, a number of action plans were issued which set out the course of the improvement programmes.
Every year the Dutch Inspectorate of Education publishes the Annual Education Report on the state of education. This report outlines developments and key themes in Dutch education. The first chapter reflects on major developments and facets of education that are in need of improvement.