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Netherlands:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

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Overview Netherlands

Contents

Netherlands:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Netherlands:Historical Development

Netherlands:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Netherlands:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Netherlands:Political and Economic Situation

Netherlands:Organisation and Governance

Netherlands:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Netherlands:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Netherlands:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Netherlands:Organisation of Private Education

Netherlands:National Qualifications Framework

Netherlands:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Netherlands:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Netherlands:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Netherlands:Funding in Education

Netherlands:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Netherlands:Higher Education Funding

Netherlands:Adult Education and Training Funding

Netherlands:Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Organisation of Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Assessment in Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Primary Education

Netherlands:Organisation of Primary Education

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Netherlands:Assessment in Primary Education

Netherlands:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Netherlands:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Netherlands:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Netherlands:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Netherlands:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Netherlands:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Netherlands:Organisation of Vocational Secondary Education (MBO)

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Secondary Education (MBO)

Netherlands:Assessment in Vocational Secondary Education (MBO)

Netherlands:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Netherlands:Higher Education

Netherlands:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Netherlands:First Cycle Programmes

Netherlands:Bachelor

Netherlands:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Netherlands:Second Cycle Programmes

Netherlands:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Netherlands:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Netherlands:Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Distribution of Responsibilities

Netherlands:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Netherlands:Main Providers

Netherlands:Main Types of Provision

Netherlands:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Netherlands:Teachers and Education Staff

Netherlands:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Netherlands:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Netherlands:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Netherlands:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Management and Other Education Staff

Netherlands:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Netherlands:Management Staff for Higher Education

Netherlands:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Netherlands:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Quality Assurance

Netherlands:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Netherlands:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Educational Support and Guidance

Netherlands:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Netherlands:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Netherlands:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Netherlands:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Netherlands:Mobility and Internationalisation

Netherlands:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Mobility in Higher Education

Netherlands:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Netherlands:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Netherlands:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Netherlands:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:National Reforms in School Education

Netherlands:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Netherlands:National Reforms in Higher Education

Netherlands:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Netherlands:European Perspective

Netherlands:Legislation

Netherlands:Institutions

Netherlands:Bibliography

Netherlands:Glossary

 

Dutch education

Statistics on organisation and governance in the field of education can be found in the publication‘Key Figures 2009-2013: Ministry of Education, Culture and Science’. In addition, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) provides up-to-date national statistics.

Definitions of types of education:

Primary education
Primary education covers mainstream primary education (BAO), special schools for primary education (SBAO) and special schools catering for both the primary age group and secondary age group (SO and VSO). Mainstream primary education is for all children aged 4 to 12.

Special schools for primary education are for children with learning or behavioural difficulties, and children who – temporarily, at least – need special facilities or extra assistance. Pupils can attend special schools for primary education until their 14th birthday. They can then transfer to pre-vocational secondary education, practical training, other forms of mainstream education or special secondary education.

Special education caters for children with special educational needs. There are special schools for the primary age group (SO) and special secondary schools (VSO) for the secondary age group. Both are divided into four categories, catering for pupils with different kinds of disability and children with severe learning difficulties.

Secondary education
Secondary education encompasses schools providing pre-university education (VWO), senior general secondary education (HAVO), pre-vocational secondary education (VMBO) and practical training (PRO).

HAVO and VWO courses prepare students for tertiary education programmes.

VMBO comprises four learning pathways: the basic vocational programme (BL), the middle-management vocational programme (KL), the combined programme (GL) and the theoretical programme (TL). These pathways lead on to MBO programmes. After completing a combined or theoretical programme, students may also go on to HAVO.

Adult and Vocational Education  

The Adult and Vocational Education Act (WEB), which came into force on 1 January 1996, covers two types of education: secondary vocational education (MBO) and adult education.

MBO comprises school-based vocational training (BOL) and block or day-release programmes (BBL). BOL can be taken either full-time or part-time. Within BBL, the focus is on practical training, which takes up 60 per cent or more of the course. MBO courses can be taken at four different qualification levels:

  • assistant level (level 1)
  • basic vocational training (level 2)
  • professional training (level 3)
  • middle-management or specialist training (level 4).

MBO courses are offered in four sectors:

  • personal and social services and health care
  • engineering and technology
  • business
  • agriculture and the natural environment (funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs).

Adult education comprises adult general secondary education and adult basic education. VAVO gives learners a second chance to obtain a VMBO (theoretical pathway), HAVO (senior general secondary education) or VWO (pre-university education) certificate. Adult basic education is a first step towards further training and development and teaches basic skills in the form of:

  • courses providing a broad basic education;
  • courses aimed at fostering self-reliance;
  • courses in Dutch as a second language (NT2).

Higher education

The Higher Education and Research Act (WHW) governs a wide range of higher education issues, including the planning, funding, administration and organisation of  HBO institutions and research universities.

HBO institutions (also known as universities of applied sciences or hogescholen) provide higher professional education. They contribute to the development of those occupations to which their teaching is geared and conduct design and development activities and research related to specific occupations. They provide bachelor’s degree programmes and in some cases master’s degree programmes, and transfer knowledge for the benefit of the community. All higher education institutions are required to pay attention to the personal development of their students and nurture in them a sense of social responsibility. A total of 37 hogescholen currently receive central government funding. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ) is responsible for funding three of these, which provide agricultural and environmental education.

Research universities focus on academic teaching and research. They train students to become researchers or design engineers, and transfer knowledge for the benefit of the community. Like hogescholen, they pay attention to the personal development of their students and nurture in them a sense of social responsibility.
The national government funds 18 research universities. These include the Open University for distance learning, four theological or humanist universities, three universities of technology, and Wageningen University. The latter is funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Educational establishments, numbers and enrolment

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012  2013
Number of institutions
Primary schools  7,528  7,515  7,480  7,434  7,360  7,261
Secondary schools     647     644     646     646     645     645
Adult and vocational education institutions      60       59       58      57       57      57
Higher professional education institutions      36       36       35      35       35      34
Research universities      12       12       12      12       12      12

Enrolment in education (in thousands)

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Total  3,722.5  3,760.9  3,779.5  3,769.9  3,752.4 3,757.3
Primary education  1,663.8  1,659.2  1,647.0  1,629.8  1,608.9 1,586.2
Secondary education     934.6     935.0     939.9     949.4     962.0    974.4
Adult general secondary education (VAVO)       15.4       17.1       16.5       14.7       14.4      13.4
Vocational education     506.7     515.5     519.5     508.8     506.1    495.2
Higher professional education     382.9     402.4     415.9     423.3     421.1    439.7
Higher academic education     219.2     231.7     240.7     243.8     239.8    248.3

Gender differences in education

Primary education

The average scores on the Cito primary school leavers attainment test do not reveal major differences between boys and girls in the early stages of education. Boys and girls attain similar average scores. Boys are somewhat better at arithmetic and mathematics, while girls are somewhat better at language. Although boys who take the test do attain slightly higher scores on average, boys are also more likely to be in special education or in the category of pupils who do not sit the regular primary school leavers attainment test.

There is a gender difference in teachers’ advice regarding the most appropriate type of secondary school (i.e. the type of education the pupil is most likely to complete without having to repeat a year): girls are more likely to be considered suitable for more theoretical types of secondary education. Teachers base their advice on a broader range of competencies, in particular work attitude, on which girls tend to be rated more highly than boys.

Secondary education

Boys and girls develop differently in the lower years of secondary school. Similar percentages of boys and girls opt for a different school type than the type considered most appropriate on the basis of their Cito test score. Girls, however, tend to opt for a more theoretical curriculum than recommended, while boys show the opposite tendency. Girls are also more likely to switch to a more theoretical type of education during their first three years of secondary education, while boys are more likely to switch to a less theoretical programme. As a result, girls have higher participation rates in senior general secondary education (HAVO) and pre-university education (VWO) even though their standardised Cito score is, on average, somewhat lower than boys’.

The total number of pupils in HAVO or VWO has grown, due to higher rates of achievement by both boys and girls. In other words, both sexes are doing better at school, but girls are outperforming boys.

Participation in secondary year 3 by gender (numbers x 1,000)

1990 2000 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Total 230.1 203.8 205.8 203.6 206.6 209.8 215.5
VSO (age 15) Boys 1.2 2.2 4.2 4.3 4.6 4,7 5.2
Girls 0.6 1.0 1.8 1.8 1.7 1,9 2.0
PRO (age 15) Boys 1.4 2.4 3.3 3.1 3.1 3,0 3.3
Girls 0.8 1.4 2.3 2.2 2.1 2,2 2.4
LWOO Boys 9.5 11.8 12.9 12.8 12.7 13.0 13.4
Girls 5.4 7.5 11.6 11.5 11.8 11.9 12.4
VMBO(exl. LWOO) Boys 62.3 51.7 42.1 41.3 41.7 42.4 43.8
Girls 56.2 47.7 37.5 37.1 38.0 38.1 39.3
HAVO Boys 16.3 20.1 23.2 23.0 23.7 24.3 24.8
Girls 18.3 22.3 24.2 23.8 24.5 25.3 25.7
VWO Boys 15.1 16.1 19.9 20.0 20.3 20.1 20.5
Girls 16.1 19.6 22.8 22.7 22.8 22.9 22.7

 

Secondary vocational education

Boys outnumber girls in secondary vocational education (MBO). The proportion of ethnically Dutch girls under 21 in this type of education declined, while there was a slight increase in the number of ethnically Dutch boys. The proportion of ethnic-minority boys and girls in MBO both increased sharply.

Almost 40% of students who obtain their secondary vocational education certificate at the end of year 4 move on to higher professional education (HBO). In this category, boys outnumber girls and ethnically Dutch students outnumber ethnic-minority students. In addition, more boys than girls do an HBO foundation-year course in order to be eligible for university studies.

Higher education

The total number of students in higher education has grown enormously in the past decades. Both men and women are achieving higher levels of education. Currently, female students outnumber men in both higher professional education (HBO) institutions and at universities. This shift to female predominance in higher education is in line with girls’ higher participation rate in pre-university education. In HBO, about 51% of students are women and 49% are men, compared to about 52% and 48%, respectively, at universities.

Just as in secondary education, the participation of both men and women in higher education has increased, with women achieving slightly better than men. At the same time, a number of gender differences remain. More women embark on higher education, and are less likely to drop out in the first year. Their completion rate is also higher than men’s, with more women completing their course and getting their degree within the set time. This applies to women in both higher professional education and at universities.

All in all, the number of higher education graduates has grown in recent decades. However, women still outnumber men in this regard. In addition, the number of men leaving higher professional education without a degree slightly exceeds the intake of men (which, incidentally, has increased over the past few years).

There are differences between the educational careers of men and women, not only in terms of their performance but also in their course choice. These disparities are not due solely to differences in performance; they also appear to be associated with differences in work attitude, behaviour and environmental factors.

Ethnic-minority pupils and students

Boys and ethnic-minority pupils are strongly overrepresented in all the different types of special education. In 1990 boys made up 68% of pupils in special schools, including special secondary education (VSO). At that time, there were no ‘special schools for primary education’ (SBAO) catering for children with milder forms of disability, or learning or behavioural difficulties. Twenty years later, in the 2009/2010 school year, two out of three pupils in special schools for primary education were boys, as were 70% of pupils in special primary and special secondary schools. The majority of pupils (60%) in practical training programmes (PRO) are also boys.

The overrepresentation of ethnic-minority boys in special education is due partly to problems aggravated by their ethnic background and partly to their parents’ generally low level of education. Almost a third of pupils in practical training are of ethnic-minority origin, compared to 15% of pupils in mainstream secondary education. Ethnic-minority pupils are also somewhat more likely to participate in learning support programmes. Poor results at the end of primary school are the main reason why pupils are advised to opt for more vocationally-oriented programmes at secondary level (SCP, 2011).

Secondary education
Ethnic-minority pupils are more likely to attend pre-vocational secondary education (VMBO) than pupils with a Dutch or Western background. Within pre-vocational secondary education, ethnic-minority pupils are also more likely to follow the more vocationally-oriented programmes rather than theoretical or combined programmes. Ethnic-minority pupils are also more likely to qualify for learning support (LWOO), but this is mainly due to their participation in non-theoretical, vocationally-oriented programmes rather than their ethnic background. Ethnically Dutch pupils in basic vocational programmes (the least theoretical of the four VMBO pathways) just as often quality for learning support.

In the 2011/2012 school year, 39% of ethnic-minority pupils in the third year of secondary education were enrolled in more vocationally-oriented programmes, compared to 25% of other pupils. In the combined and theoretical programmes the percentages for these two groups were 24% and 31%, respectively. Nearly half of all ethnically Dutch pupils in year 3 are enrolled in senior general secondary education (HAVO) or pre-university education (VWO), compared to 29% of ethnic-minority pupils. In particular, there are very few pupils of Turkish and Moroccan origin in HAVO and VWO programmes.

Secondary vocational education (MBO)
Ethnic-minority pupils at MBO schools are more likely to participate in programmes at starting level (levels 1 and 2). Women in the four ethnic-minority categories (Antillean/Aruban, Surinamese, Turkish and Moroccan) are more likely than men to follow programmes at levels 3 and 4.

At each level of MBO education, ethnic-minority students are less likely than other students to participate in block or day release programmes, which combine paid work with one day of school a week. This type of programme is usually offered at MBO levels 1, 2 and 3 and is popular with ethnically Dutch male students in MBO, with 42% of them in these programmes in 2011. Among male ethnic-minority students, this figure was only 23%. Students of Turkish or Moroccan origin are least likely to participate in block or day release programmes: 16% and 15%, respectively, in 2011/2012. Women, regardless of ethnic origin, usually attend full-time, school-based vocational programmes (BOL).

Higher professional education (HBO)
The proportion of students entering higher education who are not ethnically Dutch increased slightly between 2008 and 2012, to 33%. This group accounts for 41% of new students at university, and nearly 29% at higher professional education (HBO) institutions.

At HBO institutions, there is a higher intake of ethnic-minority students than of non-Dutch students with a Western background, most of whom are Europeans. The intake of ethnic-minority students of Turkish, Surinamese, Moroccan, Asian or African origin was lower in 2012 than 2011. Conversely, the intake of other ethnic-minority students increased slightly between 2011 and 2012. Students of Asian origin are the largest subgroup within the population of ethnic-minority students.

University education (WO)
Unlike HBO institutions, universities have a much higher intake of non-Dutch students with a Western background than of ethnic-minority students. Students of Asian origin also form the largest subgroup of ethnic-minority students in academia. While the total intake of ethnic-minority students increased slightly between 2011 and 2012, there was a lower intake of students of Turkish, Surinamese or Moroccan origin.

For other statistics and data (in English) on education in the Netherlands in 2009-2013, please go to: Key figures 2009-2013.

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) provides the most up-to-date statistics and data on all aspects of Dutch society, including education.