Pass rates up in secondary vocational education

The number of students awarded a diploma on completion of senior secondary vocational training (mbo) was nearly one quarter higher in school year 2003/’04 than in 1997/’98. In recent years, the number of students in the technology sector has decreased substantially, while many more diplomas were awarded in the health, personal care and welfare sector.

More than 100 thousand diplomas

In school year 2003/'04 just over 127 thousand students received a diploma in senior secondary training at level 2, 3 or 4. This is an increase of 23 percent compared with school year 1997/'98.
More than 41 thousand students passed basic vocational training (level 2). The other 86 thousand received diplomas in vocational training (level 3) and management or specialist training (level 4).
The level 2 diplomas are considered to be a basic qualification for the labour market. In 2003/'04 people with these diplomas accounted for more than  8 percent of all 18–25 year-olds in the Netherlands. In 1997/'98 this was still only 6.5 percent.

18-25 year-olds with a senior secondary vocational education diploma

Fewer technology diplomas

There are four sectors in senior secondary vocational education: technology; health, personal care and welfare; economics; and agriculture. The share of technology in the awarded diplomas fell from 34 percent in 1999/'00 to 29 percent in 2003/’04. In the same period the share of the health, personal care and welfare sector grew from 29 percent to 34 percent. The economics sector accounted for just over 33 percent of diplomas, and the agriculture sector is relatively small, with 4 percent of diplomas.

Diplomas in senior secondary education by sector

Women dominate in health and care diplomas

Half of all students passing their level 2–4 exams in school year 2003/’04 were women. This is a slight increase on school year 1997/'98. The technology sector is still a typically male sector. Only one in ten technology diplomas are awarded to women. Diplomas in health and personal care and welfare on the other hand is a typically female sector: nine out of ten passes here are for women. This unequal division of sectors between the sexes has hardly changed in recent years.

Share of female passes in senior secondary education, by sector

Only in the agriculture sector has the inequality between men and women diminished: the number of women receiving a diploma in this sector rose from 34 to 42 percent.

Dick Takkenberg