Vocational colleges becoming larger

The average number of students per school in senior and especially higher vocational education has risen much more strongly than enrolment at schools offering other levels of education. Universities remain by far the largest educational institutions, however.

Enrolment at vocational colleges rose by most

In school year 2004/’05 vocational colleges, which provide higher professional education (hbo), had 6,411 students on average. This is nearly one and half times the number in 1997/’98. The number of students in higher professional education has risen by a quarter as more pupils go from senior secondary general education (havo) to vocational colleges. The number of colleges fell, however, from 65 to 54.

The number of students in schools providing senior vocational training (mbo) has risen by 37 percent since 1997/’98, to 6,775 students per school. In this period the total number of pupils rose by 9 percent to 474 thousand. However, mergers have reduced the number of senior vocational schools from 88 to only 70 in 2004/’05.

Average school size per level of education
Average school size per level of education

Universities largest by far

Universities are by far the largest educational institutions in the Netherlands. In 2004/’05 the average enrolment was more than 15 thousand students. This number has risen by nearly one quarter since 1997/’98.

Catholic secondary schools increasing in size

In secondary education state schools had an average enrolment of 1,266 pupils in 2004/’05. This number has hardly increased since 1997/’98. In special education the average school size rose by 22 percent to 1,459 pupils per school. Enrolment rates at Roman Catholic secondary schools in particular have increased in recent years, by as much as 35 percent. The main reason for this increase is that the number of schools decreased. For Protestant schools the increase in the number of pupils per school was no more than 4 percent.

Average enrolment in secondary schools, 1997- 2005
Average enrolment in secondary schools, 1997- 2005

Primary schools hardly any bigger

In 2004/’05 a typical Dutch primary school had 222 pupils, 4 percent more than in 1997/’98. Unlike secondary education, in primary education special schools have hardly grown any faster than state schools.

Theo van Miltenburg