In 2008, more than 11 percent of pupils in the Netherlands left school prematurely, making it feasible for the Netherlands to comply with the target of 10 percent in 2010 set by the European Union (EU). The average for the 27 EU member states is higher, i.e. 15 percent.
Netherlands approaches 10 percent
The EU seeks to reduce the share of early school leavers to less than 10 percent of all 18 to 25-year-olds in 2010. The Netherlands is about to realise this target. The share of early school leavers aged 18−25 has been reduced in the Netherlands from 15 percent in 2001 to just over 11 percent in 2008. The share in the 27 EU member states dropped from 17 to nearly 15 percent over the same period, making it unlikely for the EU 27 to meet the target set for 2010.
Share early school leavers in EU 27, 2008
Netherlands ranks in the middle
Within the EU 27, the Netherlands ranks in the middle with respect to the share of early school leavers. In 2008, the early school leavers rate was about the same as in neighbouring countries Belgium and Germany. In the Southern European countries, the share is distinctly higher.
The rate of early school leavers is relatively low in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In Poland, the introduction in 1999 of a new act on compulsory education plays a part in this respect. Basically, pupils do not leave school until they have reached a level corresponding to secondary vocational education (mbo)-2 in the Netherlands.
Share early school leavers in the Netherlands
More boys than girls
In most EU countries, the share of early school leavers in the male population clearly exceeded the EU target in 2008. For girls, on the other hand, the share was mostly below or near the target value. This was also the case in the Netherlands, where 14 percent of boys and nearly 9 percent of girls in the 18−25 age category left school prematurely in 2008.
Robert de Vries