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Netherland Education System

The Netherland Education System is featured by divisions. Its education is focused towards to the student’s conditions and requirements. The education differs based on the age and different stages of learning.

General outline

The Dutch Ministry of Education, Science and culture organizes the policy of education along with the municipality government. In Netherlands, at the age of five, the compulsory education begins, however in practice, from the age of four, most of the schools accept the kids. There is a fractional mandatory education from the age of sixteen years, which means a student should attend the school in a minimum of two days for each week. Schools like public, religious (special) and neutral (general special schools) are government funded provided they should meet some standards laid down by the Government. Even though formally the educations in these schools are free of charge, the parents may be asked for some type of contribution by the schools.

The local government controls the public school. The school boards depending on a specific religion administers the specific school

Elementary school

The Elementary school (factually called as eh basic school) is attended by kids in the age group of 4 to 12 years. At the age of 5 years, for group 2, the school attendance is mandatory. Similar to the kinder garden, in separate institution the Group 1 and Group 2 is conducted up to the year 1989, later it was combined. The kids form group3 onwards will be taught how to write read and do maths. English is taught by most of the schools in groups 7 and 8 even though a few start from group 4 itself. Aptitude test is conducted by most of the schools in group 8.

A significant amount of elementary schools imparts education depending on a specific education policy, for example the Pestalozzi Plan Montessori Method, Jena Plan Dalton Plan, or Freinet.

High school

After finishing the elementary school the Dutch kids (they are normally 12 years of age by this time) attend the high school directly. Based on the outcomes of the Cito test and the recommendation given by the elementary school, a choice has to be made by the students and its parents for vmbo, havo or vmo, or if it the option is not clear, or if the parents feels that their children are capable of taking a advanced education, higher than the one recommended, then there is a year of orientation for both havo/vmbo and vwo/havo to decide.


The vmbo, which literally means "preparatory middle-level applied education”, is an education for a duration of four years, right from the age of 12 to 16 years. The education merges the training in vocational courses along with the education in theories such as mathematics, languages, arts, history, and sciences. A diploma in VMBO-T can facilitate a student to have education for MBO (secondary vocational education)


This education is for duration of five years. It is learning at the general senior secondary level. Havo offers entry to the vocational universities or hogescholen (HBO Hoger beroepsonderwijs).


The Vwo is a period of six years .It is the academic studies preparation at a university of research (WO -- Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs). The schools of Vwo are known as Gymnasium, Athenaeum, and/ or Lyceum. Previously the secondary education’s different forms were offered in various schools, however there is larger joint schools s permitting movement amid the diploma programmes.


An education for Secondary vocation. If a pupil has finished the international middle school programmes, IB-MYP, or the IGCSE or IB-MYP, or Dutch VMBO-t, but has not got admitted into the program for the IB diplomas. Programmes, then duration of 3 to 4 years MBO will be an excellent option. In Netherlands the pupils also have the facility of following the various programs of MBO in the English language also.

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