6.3 Preventing early leaving from education and training (ELET)
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There is no national strategy concerning early leaving from education and training.
Policy on school dropout
The national government, schools and municipalities together take measures to help young people to resume their school career. The strategy to tackle early school leaving (aanpak voortijdig schoolverlaten) consists of three components:
Schools for secondary education and secondary vocational education themselves prevent early school leaving as much as possible.
Municipalities approach young people when they leave school without a starting qualification or if they play truant often.
Schools and municipalities cooperate on a regional level in 39 Regional Report and Coordination Centres (Regionale- Meld en Coördinatiepunten). All regions have a plan with measures, like extra preventive support for young people at schools by youth work or youth care professionals and coaching to help young people to make informed study choices.
Central government allocates money for all components of this strategy.
The aims of the strategy are:
To diminish the number of school drop-outs by 3,000 in 2024 compared to the 2019-2020 school year, which means a maximum of 20,000 new school-leavers in 2024.
To guide early school leavers back to school or work.
To help young people in vulnerable positions to make the transition to further education or a job.
For the period 2020-2024 the Minister of Education, Culture and Science (minister van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap) will give specific attention to:
The connection between multi-facetted problems of youth and their parents and early school leaving.
The legal expansion of the Regional Report and Coordination Centres’ target group to 23- to 27-year-olds.
Data sharing between municipalities, schools and other relevant partners.
Agreements with employers organisations to prevent students leaving education without a diploma.
Streamlining the strategy with measures taken as part of the Pact for youth not in education (see below).
The letter to Parliament about the progress of the strategy on early school leaving (Kamerbrief over voortgang aanpak voortijdig schoolverlaten) of the 12th of February 2021 outlines these measures in more detail.
National pact for youth not in education
In 2016 the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport) concluded a Pact for children and youngsters not in education (Thuiszitterspact), with the sector organisations for primary and secondary education (the PO-Raad and the VO-raad), the Ministry of Justice and Security (Ministerie van Justitie en Veiligheid) and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten). The goal of the pact was that in 2020 no child or youngster would be at home without a suitable offer for education and/or care. The parties involved agreed to stimulate and to support municipalities and school partnerships (see paragraph 6.2) in every region to realise a comprehensive strategy for children and youngsters not in education.
To expand the definition of children and young people not in education in order to include all of these youth.
A national registration of school absence with real-time figures and the average amount of school absence days.
To legally enable school partnerships to receive school absence figures from the school absence register.
To improve cooperation between care and educational institutions to offer more children and youngsters with ailments, illnesses and disabilities the support they need.
An adjustment of the statutory exemption of education in the Act on Compulsory Education (Leerplichtwet): Exemptions can only be approved based on severe physical and mental illness and can never be the result of a lack of an appropriate offer of education.
To improve access to and the organisation of (specialised) youth care as well as regional cooperation.
Research about (the prevention of) permitted school absence.
Corona crisis related measures
In 2020 Cabinet sent a letter to Parliament about measures to tackle problems due to the corona crisis, including early school leaving. Cabinet made available € 8 million extra for the period 2020-2021 for the aforementioned Regional Report and Coordination Centres (Regionale- Meld en Coördinatiepunten) to execute their regular tasks, to support former school drop-outs who are expected to lose their jobs or have already lost them and to increase cooperation with regional partner organisations. Corona crisis related measures to integrate young people in the labour market are outlined in paragraph 3.6.
On 17th February 2021 the National Programme Education (Nationaal Programma Onderwijs) was launched. This €8.5 billion support programme for primary, secondary, secondary vocational and higher education is aimed at the recovery and development of education, catching up on study delays and the support of pupils and students who are struggling as a consequence of the corona crisis and the measures taken by Cabinet to reduce the spread of the virus (e.g. school closures and online education). This national programme targets the cognitive, executive as well as the social-emotional development of youth and therefore may contribute to the prevention of early school leaving. Schools receive extra funding and support for two years to identify the needs of individual pupils and to take appropriate action. Municipalities receive extra budget to offer additional activities to stimulate the cognitive, executive, social and emotional skills of pupils, in cooperation with schools, childcare, (youth health) care, libraries and other parties.
Vocational training and the job market
An important part of the vocational educational training programmes consists of working and learning in practice, known as work placements. The organisation responsible for this programme is the Foundation for Cooperation on Vocational Education, Training and Labour Market (Samenwerkingsorganisatie Beroepsonderwijs Bedrijfsleven). The foundation advises the ministers of Education, Culture and Science and of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy on ways to link vocational education and the job market. They differentiate between practice placements and apprenticeships. More about this educational route of learning by doing can be found in paragraph 3.5.
The strategy on early school leaving is related to youth employment measures, like the Action Plan Youth Unemployment (Aanpak Jeugdwerkloosheid), which are explained in paragraph 3.6.
Public career guidance targeting young people takes place within formal education institutions. Every pupil has a mentor, who can coach him or her when necessary. Also a school career adviser can counsel pupils on how to approach their studies and future career opportunities. No information was found regarding informal education providers.
The business sector is an important actor for offering work placements to students. To achieve this the ministries started a partnership with the business sector. Read more about this in chapter 3.4 Career Guidance and Counselling.
The Dutch government (Rijksoverheid) does not only focus on students in secondary schools, but has also developed measures for students in secondary vocational education (Betere aansluiting mbo op arbeidsmarkt). The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is responsible for these policy measures. You can read more about these policy measures in the following paragraphs.
In a letter to Parliament about the progress of the strategy on early school leaving (Kamerbrief over voortgang aanpak voortijdig schoolverlaten) of the 12th of February 2021 the Minister of Education, Culture and Science announces to streamline the two national strategies on early school leaving and on youth not in education (as described above). Specific attention will be given to adjusting education and care through the Improvement Agenda Appropriate Secondary Vocational Education (Verbeteragenda Passend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs) (October 2020).
In January 2020, Cabinet declared in a letter to Parliament about youth not in education (Kamerbrief over thuiszitters januari 2020) to improve cooperation between care and educational institutions to offer more children and youngsters with ailments, illnesses and disabilities the support they need. Pilot projects to better combine care and education were launched. Read more about these pilot projects in paragraph 6.2.
No more information on cross-sector coordination and monitoring of ELET interventions could be found.