Secondary schools threatening to disappear from shrinking regions: school organization

Empty classroom

Due to a decreasing number of pupils, secondary schools are threatening to disappear from at least 10 shrinking regions in the east of the Netherlands - Groningen, Friesland, Limburg and Zeeland, according to secondary school organization VO-Raad. This could mean that pupils in rural areas may have to travel over 20 kilometers to go to school, the organization warns, NOS reports.

It is already impossible to follow technical VMBO programs in certain regions. And according to the VO-Raad, more training levels will soon have to be dropped. "It must not be allowed that there will only be good education at a reasonable distance in the city", organization chairman Paul Rosenmöller said. He calls on the government to intervene by, for example, not dropping government contributions along with the number of pupils so that schools have time to figure something out.

According to the VO-Raad, around 15 schools in the Netherlands are really the last in their region. There are also dozens of schools that find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet due to shrinkage and a new funding model. The new funding model abolished a special allowance for schools with a wide range of training courses, and schools with appropriate education receive less money. 

The VO-Raad estimates that the number of secondary school pupils will fall by 12 percent over the next nine years, because fewer children are born.