More than 146 thousand students passed their final exams in senior secondary vocational education (mbo) in the Netherlands in 2008/’09. This increase, 35 percent compared with ten years previously, is much larger than the average for the European Union, which was 10 percent in the same period.
Boys opt for technology, girls for care
Just as in many other EU countries, in the Netherlands about half of students completing mbo are girls. This has hardly changed in the Netherlands or the EU as a whole in the last ten years.
Within the individual disciplines, differences between ratios of male to female students are often much larger. Boys traditionally choose disciplines that train them for more technical jobs, while girls are more likely to choose disciplines that train them for work in the care sector.
Percentage of girls in total mbo diplomas in some European countries, 1998/’99 and 2008/’09
Engineering, manufacturing and construction most popular for boys
Dutch boys in mbo are most likely to choose the discipline engineering, manufacturing and construction: nearly four in ten male students receive a diploma in this discipline. The EU average is significantly higher, at nearly five in ten.
The share of male students with a diploma in personal services, transport and security – just over one in five – is higher on the other hand than the EU average of one in ten.
Percentages of mbo disciplines in total number of diplomas per country, boys 2008/’09
Relatively many Dutch girls choose health and welfare
For girls, the distribution between mbo disciplines is very different than for boys. In both the Netherlands and the EU few girls choose engineering, manufacturing and construction. In the Netherlands, nearly half of girls receive a diploma in the discipline health and welfare. In the EU as a whole this is one in six girls.
In Sweden and Spain, for example, disciplines in the area of arts, design and media are relatively popular among girls, while in Germany over half of girls receive a diploma in business, administration and legal support.
Percentages of mbo disciplines in total number of diplomas per country, girls 2008/’09
Anouschka van der Meulen