Law changes for 2018 so far: Education

Primary school classroom (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Douglas P Perkins)Primary school classroom (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Douglas P Perkins)

With the new year starting, the Dutch government is implementing a number of new laws and changing some existing ones. Below is an explanation of changes to the law applying to education.

From next year it will be easier for public and special primary schools to merge into one cooperative school. This is a pragmatic solution for schools in areas where the number of pupils is decreasing, as it means that the school remains available and pupils have access to education that matches their needs. Next year it will also be easier to convert primary schools from public to special education or the other way around. It will also be easier to move a school within the municipal regions. 

In this school year (2017-2018) pupils in VWO still have to take the mathematics test, but it does not count towards obtaining the VWO diploma. This change only affects VWO. For students in HVO, VMBO and MBO, the test already doesn't count towards their final results.

Students who want to follow an MBO course in the 2018-2019 academic year must apply by no later than April 1st. Students who haven't registered by this deadline can be refused by the MBO institution. A student can still change his or her educational choice after registration.

A new application round for the Regional Investment Fund starts in 2018. Companies that want to invest in innovative vocational education together with MBO institutions can submit an application. The Ministry of Education made 25 million euros available for this fund.

In addition to bachelor's and master's degrees, there will be a new independent degree in higher education next year - the associate degree. This is a 2 year program in higher vocational education, ideally suited for MBO-4 graduates who want to study further but can't do a 4 year bachelor's degree. The associate degree is also an opportunity for training and retraining adults and workers. A total of 150 associate degree courses are available at 22 different funded colleges, and another 60 at non-government-funded colleges. 

The Ministry of Education is launching an experiment to see whether some of the administrative pressure on colleges and universities can be lifted when it comes to the Dutch-Flemish accreditation organization NVAO assessing them for their accreditation. Educational institutions who take part in the experiment will be assessed on half of the number of NVAO criteria in relation to the current situation. The registration for this experiment opens in January and it will launch in September. 

Next year Stevin Premiums, involving an amount of 2.5 million euros, will be awarded for the first time to two scientists who had major social or economical impact with their research. This prize can be awarded to scientists in all scientific fields.