1 General, vocational and training in the Netherlands
2 post-graduate university post-graduate continuing professional and training continuing vocational training for adults OU university higher professional Ad senior secondary vocational 2 pre-university senior general secondary junior general and pre-vocational special ACE primary AVE OU Ad = uniform programme in primary and secondary = vocational or professional = adult continuing on different levels ( ) = open university = associate degree The Dutch system of and training
3 The Dutch and training system comprises the following six main elements: primary special (general) secondary (consisting of 2 phases) senior secondary vocational and adult continuing vocational courses and training for adults higher Education is compulsory for persons till 16 years of age. The law requires 16-year-olds on 1 August of any year to attend part-time one or two days a week. Primary Primary is intended for pupils between 4 and 12 years of age and lasts eight consecutive years (ISCED*-level 1). Special Special is intended for pupils who require more support and guidance due to a mental, sensory or physical handicap. The admission age varies from three to six, depending on the type of special involved. Secondary special is open to pupils between the ages of twelve and twenty (maximum). Almost half of these pupils move on to some form of vocational. Back to school together is an approach designed to bring about more integration of primary and special, in order to call out steady increase in the numbers of pupils attending special. On the secondary level of special and junior pre-vocational work closely together. General secondary Secondary follows primary and special and is intended for pupils between twelve and sixteen or eighteen years of age. In the initial years (usually two), pupils are taught a uniform programme of consisting of a number of subjects. This is referred to as basic secondary. Secondary comprises two phases including three types of. 3 * ISCED: International Standard for the Classification of Education.
4 4 Both phases are offered in: Pre-university (VWO) Pre-university lasts six years and prepares pupils for a course at university or in higher professional. The final three years are part of the second phase of general secondary (ISCED-levels 2 + 3). Senior general secondary (HAVO) This type of lasts five years and prepares pupils for higher professional. Graduates can also move on to senior secondary vocational or the fifth year of pre-university. The final two years form the second phase of general secondary (ISCED-levels 2 + 3). Only the first phase of secondary is offered in: Junior general secondary and pre-vocational (VMBO) This type of lasts four years (ISCED-level 2). The programme contains general subjects and in the last two years vocational subjects can be followed in different learning paths. Pupils are prepared for follow-up courses in senior secondary vocational. Graduates from the theoretical learning path can also move on to the fourth year of senior general secondary. Senior secondary vocational and adult continuing In The Netherlands, the broad field of secondary vocational and adult continuing is referred to as the BVE sector. It runs courses for a highly heterogeneous group of participants. Senior Secondary Vocational Education (MBO) Senior secondary vocational comprises courses for types of work within four sectors: the technical sector, the economic-administrative sector, the service and health care sector and the agricultural sector. The courses vary in level and duration. The assistant vocational course prepares participants for simple operational work in an occupation. The course lasts no more than one year (ISCED-level 2). The basic vocational course prepares participants for operational work. The course lasts two or three years (ISCED-level 3). The advanced vocational course prepares participants to work fully independently. The course lasts three or four years (ISCED-level 3).
5 The middle-management course is designed to train participants to be able to function fully independently and qualify them for all kinds of work. The course usually lasts four years (ISCED-level 3). Graduates can move on to higher professional. The specialist training course is open to graduates from the advanced vocational course. The course lasts one or two years (ISCED-level 4). Senior secondary vocational is open to pupils who have usually completed the first phase of secondary. Graduates can move on either horizontally or vertically. Courses in senior secondary vocational are run by regional training centres (ROCs), agricultural training centres (AOCs), vocational schools and labour organizations. Organizations not funded by the government can also run courses in senior secondary vocational. The courses are designed by employer and employee organizations and the al establishment, which are represented in national centres of expertise on vocational, training and the labour market. The courses are designed along two al tracks: The dual track: at least 60% of the course is spent in occupational practice. This is a dual programme (the apprenticeship system). The non-dual track: at least 20% and no more than 60% of the course is spent on training in occupational practice. The regional training centres (ROC) also offer courses in general and adult continuing. Adult Continuing Education There are two main forms of adult continuing : Basic comprises activities designed to qualify adults to function in both their personal and social lives. Dutch as a second language is part of this form. Adult general secondary (VAVO) is the parttime form of general secondary for youth in the first and second phase. 5
6 Vocational courses / Training for adults Employees and employers Vocational courses for adults, which is sometimes referred to as schooling, focuses on two categories of participants: Job-seekers Job seekers can attend courses in senior secondary vocational and in the private training circuit of institutes not funded by the government. In addition, there were specific centres such as women s training centres (for those re-entering employment) and vocational training centres (retraining and additional training at basic level), which are now privatised or part of the regional training centres. There are various forms of training open to employees: The part-time equivalents of regular government funded : part-time senior secondary and part-time higher professional. The two al tracks of senior secondary vocational. Private correspondence courses, which are primarily vocational in nature. Private oral, which again comprises primarily vocational courses. Training courses given outside the company. In-company training, off-the-job and on-the-job. Higher 6 Higher consists of two components (ISCED-level 5). Higher professional (HBO) Full-time higher professional is open to graduates from pre-university, senior general secondary and the middle-management course in senior secondary vocational. Courses usually last four years. This type of is divided into seven sectors: agricultural, teacher-training, technical, economic, health care, social studies and art. Higher professional is also taught part-time (as part of professional courses for adults) and in combination with work (dual learning).
7 The four-year programme leads to a Bachelor s degree. Master s degree programmes are being developed. University (WO) University is split into two phases. The first phase lasts four years (Master s degree course). The second phase, which has limited student capacity, offers post-graduate researcher training. University is open to graduates of pre-university and, to a certain extent, graduates of higher professional. The Open University, on the other hand, which is an institute for higher distance, is open to people over eighteen years of age and imposes no admission requirements. It is also part of adult continuing. Further information: Colophon is an independent, international research and consultancy agency specialised in lifelong learning, vocational & training (VET), adult and human resources development. Based in the Netherlands, we offer services to governments, al institutions, sectoral organisations and businesses. From strategic advice to practical implementation. Within and outside the traditional al context. That is how brings learning to life. 7 Design: Evert van de Biezen Order number: A00440 Published by:, s-hertogenbosch, October 2008 A00441_v01/ All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without permission in writing from the publishers.
8 Pettelaarpark 1 P.O. Box BP s-hertogenbosch The Netherlands Tel.: +31 (0) Fax: +31 (0)
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