Nearly 55,000 Dutch kids repeat a year in high school; first increase since 2012

High school classroom
High school classroom. (Photo: HaMinh1997 / Wikimedia Commons)

Last year a total of 54.720 students repeated a year in high school or failed their final exam, according to figures from education agency DUO. That amounts to 5.7 percent of the total number of high school students, compared to 5.4 percent the previous year, AD reports

The increase in the number of repeaters is a break with the downward trend that started in 2012. Between 2012 and 2015 the number of repeaters fell from 6.5 percent of high school students to 5.4 percent. 

According to DUO and umbrella organization for secondary education VO-raad, the increase is due to students having higher aspirations. When they get a double advice for continuing on VMBO level or HAVO level, they more often choose the highest level. 

The increase can be seen in all years and at all levels. The highest proportion repeaters can be found in the fourth year of HAVO level, 13.8 percent. And a striking proportion of 7.5 percent of VWO students fail the final exam, according to the newspaper. Both groups grew with 1 percent over 2016. 

State Secretary Sander Dekker of Education pushed millions of euros into spring schools and other measures to reduce the number of repeaters to 3.8 percent in 2020. A spokesperson for the Ministry told the newspaper that it is not yet clear whether last year's increase means that the goal will not be reached.