Nearly 10,000 Dutch students aren’t attending school; Truancy down

A total of 9,972 school-age children in the Netherlands are not attending school for a short or long period. 40 percent of them are enrolled in a school, but have not attended for more than four weeks. The truancy figure is down from last year's 10,680, according to figures Education State Secretary Sander Dekker sent to the lower house of Dutch parliament on Wednesday, ANP reports.

The figures also show that the number of exemptions from compulsory education increased last year. In 2015 a total of 5,077 children did not attend school because of a physical or mental disability. A year earlier it was 4,444. Dekker is looking into the increase, especially given that the introduction of appropriate education in August 2014 led to the expectation that the number of exemptions would go down.

"One of the goals of appropriate education is to bring the number of truants down. In 2020 I want that no child be home for more than three months without a proper place being found in a school. In that matter there are some movement in the figures, but it's still not fast enough", Dekker wrote, according to the news wire.

Dekker implemented a number of measures to speed things up, such as more opportunities to follow education outside of school. Dekker is also working with Public Health State Secretary Martin van Rijn in organizing an nationwide Truancy Summit, where municipalities can come together to learn from each other's approach to this problem.