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Vocational Education in the Netherlands

Part of the Professional and Practice-based Learning book series (PPBL,volume 18)

Abstract

This chapter introduces the Dutch vocational education system and aims to foster an understanding of how it currently works. It describes and discusses the features of this system and the foundational issues that underlie it. Patterns of participation show the crucial position of vocational education in the overall education system in the Netherlands. It provides opportunities for supporting promising educational careers and positive positions in the labour market. The system design is to be without “dead ends”: everybody is supposed to leave the system with a fitting qualification. However, this design has proven to be less promising in its realization. Early tracking foreshadows pathways and makes some careers, if not dead ends, difficult, elevating the risk of dropping out. Five fundamental issues are highlighted when discussing the current Dutch vocational education system in practice in this chapter. Firstly, within a public frame, vocational education is a product of cooperation amongst various stakeholders. The specifics of the private-public frame are helpful for understanding the processes by which Dutch vocational education is uniquely shaped, and lead to its specific kinds of programmes and cooperation between schools and enterprises. The freedom of education concept comprises a second issue. Thirdly, tensions between accessibility and allocation to labour market and, fourthly, between educating for the short term and the longer term future are common to most vocational education systems, albeit manifested differently because of the national peculiarities. Fifthly, the current expectation for the Dutch public provision of vocational education contributing to lifelong learning of workers is a challenge for the future and, already, testing its capacity as a system to support this goal.

Keywords

  • Vocational Education
  • Qualification Profile
  • Educational Career
  • Lower Secondary Education
  • Occupational Practice

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Fig. 1.1
Fig. 1.2
Fig. 1.3

Notes

  1. 1.

    VMBO includes prevocational programmes and general ones; the general programmes have considerably higher numbers of enrolment (nearly 70%) than the pre-vocational ones (over 30%).

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de Bruijn, E., Billett, S., Onstenk, J. (2017). Vocational Education in the Netherlands. In: de Bruijn, E., Billett, S., Onstenk, J. (eds) Enhancing Teaching and Learning in the Dutch Vocational Education System. Professional and Practice-based Learning, vol 18. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-50734-7_1

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