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The Netherlands - The State of Education in the Netherlands in 2009/2010

ReferNet Netherlands

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.

The most notable reasons for concern are:

  • Precisely those pupils that really need good education, are often attending weak or unsatisfactory schools;
  • Compared to a few years ago pupils in secondary education are getting lower grades on national examinations in mathematics, Dutch and English;
  • Schools and courses do not guarantee the quality of diplomas sufficiently;
  • Schools and courses differ widely in their achievements, so pupils at one school are much better off than pupils at another;
  • Pupils have a right to good teachers, but a proportion of teachers falls short.
    For VET in particular, the report concludes:
  • More students obtain their diploma in secondary vocational education (mbo). Of those students that leave this education, 30% still do not have a diploma, compared to 40% in the early years of this century.
  • 13% of secondary vocational education (mbo) students move on to higher professional education (hbo), a slight increase compared to five years ago, when 10% moved on to higher professional education (hbo).
  • At some regional community colleges (ROCs) 53% of students leave the institution with a diploma, at others this is 86%.
  • For level one courses in the economy sector, 39% of students get a diploma, in the agricultural sector this is 73%.
  • There are branches where only 35% of students at secondary vocational education (mbo) level three leave with a diploma (sport), while there are branches where this percentage is 94 (construction and infrastructure).

On 1st August 2010 the Act on Reference Levels for Dutch Language and Numeracy came into effect. The act describes the knowledge and capabilities pupils must acquire in primary, secondary and secondary vocational education (mbo). It intends to improve the tie-up between sectors and the handover of pupils, including better information exchange.