Dutch Education minister plans faster transition from middle vocational school to vocational school

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Jet Bussemaker (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons). (Jet Bussemaker (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons))

Education Minister Jet Bussemaker and State Secretary Sander Dekker plan to make it easier and quicker for kids to move from preparatory vocational school (VMBO) to vocational school (MBO) with a new law that contains a number of measures.These include allowing kids in VMBO to already take MBO classes and scrapping the intermediate exam before advancing, ANP reports.

The Education officials announced their new law for a so-called continuous learning routes in a letter to parliament on Monday. 

This law will especially benefit kids who know what they want to be from an early age. They can achieve an MBO diploma in five years by taking MBO classes while still at VMBO level. Currently vocational students spend four years in VMBO and at least two years at MBO level before getting their diploma. 

As an example Bussemaker mentions a motivated student who wants a job in day care. "Now they must first have a VMBO diploma. But soon they'll be able to finish their education in one go", she wrote. Dekker adds: "Then it's not necessary that you first jump through all the hoops, such as writing a final exam."

Pupils who want to transfer from VMBO to HAVO will still have to get their VMBO diploma first. 

The new law changes the currents within VMBO. The theoretical learning paths, intended for students who want to progress to HAVO for example, are merged. And the paths that include theoretical and combined programs become one. "It now becomes one path with more practice, as opposed to the MAVO of the past", Dekker explained. "Half of all students go to VMBO. That involves many children who need different routes to get the best out of themselves. With this proposal, we give children the chance to choose a route that suits them."

"It is important that we further increase the chances of students in the entire vocational education by preparing them as much as possible fro their future workplace", Bussemaker said. "Customization, more practice, and a better integration with the regional business life also offer schools the opportunity to better reflect labor market needs."