In the period 1994/’95-2004/’05 the percentage of pupils in primary education hardly changed. The total number of pupils in primary education in this period increased by 100 thousand to more than 1.6 million. The share of pupils in special primary education fell from 3.7 to 3.1 percent in the same period.
Pupils in primary education, by type of education and gender, school year 2004/‘05
This development is consistent with the national government policy to integrate children with learning and behavioural problems into regular primary education as much as possible. The share of pupils in expertise centres, on the other hand, rose from 1.5 to 2.1 percent, a relative increase by 40 percent.
Pupils in expertise centres by type of disability and school year
More boys in special education
The boy-to-girl ratio in primary education is approximately 1 to 1, whereas the boy-to-girl ratio in special education is 2 to 1. This applies to special primary education as well as expertise centres.
The distribution of pupils over the various types of education provided by expertise centres shifted only marginally over the last decade: An increase was recorded in the percentage of children with speech impediments, children with severe learning problems and children suffering from prolonged illnesses. The proportion of physically (including multiple) handicapped children, children with severe behavioural problems, deaf and hard of hearing children decreased.
Pupils in special primary education and expertise centres by province, school year 2004/'05
Disparities across provinces
Schools for special primary education and expertise centres are found across all provinces. Yet the percentage of pupils in special primary education and those attending education in expertise centres varies for each province. For pupils in special primary education the disparities are less significant than for pupils in expertise centres. In the province of Flevoland 3.5 percent of pupils attend special primary education, as against slightly over 2.5 percent in the provinces of Zeeland, Utrecht, Drenthe and Groningen. Of all pupils in primary education in Groningen, 3.1 percent attend education in expertise centres. In Drenthe and Flevoland this is only 1.0 and 0.9 percent respectively, but expertise centres in these provinces do not offer all types of education. The choice for the nearest expertise centre may also be a reason to resort to a neighbouring province.
Rob Kapel and Aad de Wit