European Education Area Progress Report 2020

Education and Training Monitor 2020


1. Key indicators

Figure 1 – Key indicators overview
Netherlands EU-27
2009 2019 2009 2019
Education and training 2020 benchmarks
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) 11.3% 7.5% 14.0% 10.2%
Tertiary educational attainment (age 30-34) 38.3% 51.4% 31.1% 40.3%
Early childhood education
(from age 4 to starting age of compulsory primary education)
99.5% 96.9%18 90.3% 94.8%18
Proportion of 15 year-olds underachieving in: Reading 14.3% 24.1%18 19.3% 22.5%18
Maths 13.4% 15.8%18 22.2% 22.9%18
Science 13.2% 20.0%18 17.8% 22.3%18
Employment rate of recent graduates by educational attainment (age 20-34 having left education 1-3 years before reference year) ISCED 3-8 (total) 92.3% 91.9% 78.0% 80.9%
Adult participation in learning (age 25-64) ISCED 0-8 (total) 17.1% 19.5% 7.9% 10.8%b
Learning mobility Degree mobile graduates (ISCED 5-8) : 2.8%18 : 4.3%18
Credit mobile graduates (ISCED 5-8) : 22.5%18 : 9.1%18
Other contextual indicators
Education investment Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP 5.6% 5.1% 18 5.1% 4.6%18
Expenditure on public and private institutions per student in € PPS ISCED 1-2 €7 41912 €7 60917 €6 072d, 12 €6 240d, 16
ISCED 3-4 €9 40912 €9 87317 :12 €7 757d, 16
ISCED 5-8 €14 66712 €14 13917 €9 679d, 12 €9 977d, 16
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) Native-born 11.2% 7.2% 12.6% 8.9%
Foreign-born 13.6% 11.6% 29.3% 22.2%
Tertiary educational attainment (age 30-34) Native-born 39.7% 52.7% 32.0% 41.3%
Foreign-born 30.9% 45.6% 25.1% 35.3%
Employment rate of recent graduates by educational attainment (age 20-34 having left education 1-3 years before reference year) ISCED 3-4 90.4% 88.8% 72.2% 75.9%
ISCED 5-8 93.6% 94.0% 83.7% 85.0%

Source: Eurostat; OECD (PISA); Learning mobility figures are calculated by DG EAC, based on UOE 2018 data. Further information can be found in Annex I and in Volume 1 (
Notes: The 2018 EU average on PISA reading performance does not include ES; b = break in time series; d = definition differs; u = low reliability; : = not available; 12 = 2012, 16 = 2016, 17 = 2017, 18 = 2018.

Figure 2 - Position in relation to strongest and weakest performers

Source: DG EAC, based on data from Eurostat (LFS 2019, UOE 2018) and OECD (PISA 2018).

2. Highlights

  • Digital skills and the share of schools actively promoting digital education are above the EU average.
  • There has been a decline in basic skills, and differences in performance levels between schools remain high.
  • The 2019-2022 quality agreements aim to further improve the quality of VET.
  • Recent measures in tertiary education aim to improve quality and ensure access.

3. A focus on digital education

Digital skills are above the EU average. According to the 2019 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), 92% of young people (aged 16-19) report that they have at least basic digital skills, compared to the EU-27 average of 82%. 77% of this age group claim to have advanced internet user skills, which puts the Netherlands in fifth place in the ranking. As regards ICT specialists, the Netherlands exceeds the EU-27 average at 5.0 % of total employment. In terms of internet access at home, the Netherlands ranks highest in the EU with 98% (CBS, 2019). The Index of Readiness for Digital Lifelong Learning puts the Netherlands at second place in Europe. It scores particularly well regarding institutions and policies for digital learning and availability of digital learning (CEPS, 2019).

The digitalisation agenda for primary and secondary education fosters the use of new technologies. The agenda was adopted in 2019 (OCW, 2019a) as part of the Dutch digitalisation strategy with the objective of fostering innovation in education, improving teachers’ and pupils’ digital skills, ensuring that IT infrastructure is secure and reliable and raising awareness of the ethics of digitalisation. There are additional related programmes such as the national training programme ‘Digital Teacher’, which aims to improve the digital skills of primary teachers. The programme ‘Pass IT on!’ (Geef IT Door) allows secondary schools to invite IT professionals to give a guest lecture. The government-funded centre of expertise provides links to over 1 000 media literacy organisations to organise public campaigns, conduct research, and offer educational services. In the new national curriculum under preparation, four domains of digital literacy are addressed: information skills, media literacy, basic ICT skills and computational thinking.

Schools receive funding and professional advice to develop their ICT infrastructure. The share of digitally supportive schools at ISCED levels 1 and 2 is higher than the European average (Deloitte et al., 2019). Such schools have school strategies in place regarding the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning, and strongly promote teachers’ professional development. At 35%, the share of schools that have high-speed connectivity is three times higher than the EU average (Deloitte et al., 2019). In 2017, a number of school boards in primary and secondary education established SIVON, a partnership for joint purchasing of ICT tools and services. SIVON works together with Kennisnet, the public organisation for education and ICT. Kennisnet developed a step-by-step school guide to choosing digital learning resources, and, together with school boards, created a catalogue based on information from educational publishers and providers (Koppelpunt Catalogusinformatie) to give schools a free, transparent and comprehensive overview of available digital learning resources.

During school closures, schools received assistance and additional funding. Kennisnet started a special service to help schools organise distance learning, plan classes and get an overview of available resources. The service also offered advice and information to parents, to accompany their children’s learning at home. The government allocated EUR 2.5 million to purchase laptops for pupils who did not have the proper equipment for distance learning. In addition, a number of municipalities, NGOs and service providers offered free devices and internet access during the lockdown. Higher education institutions suspended on-site educational activities and completed the 2019-2020 academic year in distance education mode.

4. Investing in education and training

Public expenditure on education remains stable. In 2018, expenditure on primary to tertiary education accounted for 5.1% of the Netherlands’ GDP, well above the EU average of 4.6%. General government expenditure on education was also higher than the EU average as a proportion of total general government expenditure (12.1%; EU-27 9.9%). In real terms, there was a 1.0% increase in education spending in 2018. Spending decreased in pre-primary and primary education by 0.8% and increased by 0.2% in secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education and by 4.5% in tertiary education. This is linked to funding based on the number of pupils; this number has declined in primary education since 2008. The secondary school population has been in decline since 2016 (CBS, 2019).

The school-age population is becoming smaller and more diverse. . The number of pupils has been shrinking in both primary and secondary education in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue (Government, 2019a). In the same period, numbers in special education (speciaal onderwijs, so) and in special primary education (speciaal basisonderwijs; sbo)1 have been rising continuously. Migrants and native-born people with a migrant background made up 23.1% of the population in 2018. Of these nearly 4 million people, roughly 2 million are from non-western countries, almost a doubling of people with a non-western background since 1996 (MPI, 2019). In the school population around a quarter of pupils have a migrant background: 8% from a western migrant background and 18% from a first- or second-generation non-western background (Education Inspectorate, 2020a). Diversity is likely to increase further, as the share of pupils with a migrant background among new entrants is around 30%.

5. Modernising early childhood and school education

Participation in early childhood education (ECE) is high, and recent investment aims to improve quality and participation time. From age four, 96.9% of children participate in ECE, compared with an EU average of 94.8%. In 2018, 56.8% of children under three attended childcare (EU average 34.7%). For 2020, the government made an extra EUR 170 million available to improve ECE quality (OCW, 2018a). The objectives are to increase the number of participation hours to 960 for children aged over 18 months (corresponding to 16 hours/week), raise the qualification level of ECE staff to tertiary level, evaluate equal educational opportunities and support municipalities and ECE providers working to reduce educational disadvantages.

There has been a decline in basic skills as measured in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). In 2018, Dutch students achieved the second highest mean score in mathematics in the EU, and their performance in science was also significantly above the EU average. Mean performance in reading (485), however, was at the lowest level ever observed and for the first time below the EU-27 average (487). Over the long term, a downward trend in mean scores can be observed in all three domains (Figure 3). The share of top performers (Level 5 or 6) in science and mathematics is above the EU average but has been in decline in all three domains since 2009. The share of underachievers is close to the EU target of 15% in mathematics (15.8%; EU 22.9%) but above in science (20%; EU 22.3%) and especially in reading (24.1%; EU 22.5%).

Figure 3 - Trends in performance in reading, mathematics and science, in PISA mean score, 2003-2018

Source: OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Database.

A majority of students with a migrant background are underachievers and differences in performance levels between schools remain high. The proportion of low achievers is especially high (56%) among pupils born abroad. Native-born pupils with a migrant background only partially catch up. Differences between schools have the strongest impact on pupils’ performance of all EU countries, reflecting ability-based tracking from an early age. The impact of socio-economic background on pupils’ performance is at the EU average.

Students are happy with school but bored with reading. Most students feel they belong at school (76%) and the share of those reporting bullying (12%) was the lowest in the EU. Looking at the subskills within reading, Dutch students score well on searching for information but less so on reflection and evaluation. They are the least motivated readers in the OECD: about 60% only read when necessary or to look up information. Almost half report that they find reading a waste of time, a lack of motivation confirmed by national surveys. The Education and Culture Councils made recommendations on how to make students read more and better in June 2019 (Education Council, 2019a).

The rate of early school leaving (ESL) is below the Europe 2020 national target but has increased recently. The Netherlands’ Europe 2020 target for the rate of early school leavers was 8% by 2020: this was achieved in 2016. The slight increase in 2018 continued in 2019, and now stands at 7.5% (EU average 10.2%). The Netherlands set another related national target: to reduce the number of young people leaving education without a basic qualification during the school year to below 20 000. This number started rising in 2016/2017, reaching 26 894 in 2018/19 (Onderwijs in cijfers, 2020). The aim to reduce it to a maximum of 20 000 by 2021 therefore seems less achievable than before. An amendment to the Act on Education and Vocational Education in June 2018 made cooperation between schools and municipalities to combat ESL compulsory (Government, 2018). There are three main preventative measures. First, the Government provides EUR 80 million to the regions to implement measures agreed with schools and municipalities. Second, there is a performance-dependent funding scheme through which secondary schools with low dropout rates receive extra remuneration. The funding pot available is over EUR 17 million. Finally, since 2019, VET secondary schools (MBO) need to include plans for tackling early school leaving in their quality agreement, based on which they receive funding. In February 2019, the Education Council published recommendations to prevent school failure (Education Council, 2019b). One of these was to integrate the pre-vocational (VMBO) and vocational (MBO) tracks to reduce the number of transitions, as these are linked to a high risk of dropping out.

Efforts have been intensified to combat absenteeism. In 2016, a Home Stayers’ Pact (Government, 2016) was signed between the government, school boards in primary and secondary education and the national association of municipalities to reduce the number of home stayers. These are pupils under a schooling obligation who have stayed away from school for more than 3 months without a valid reason. Despite all efforts, the number of such pupils had increased to 4 790 by the end of 2019. An ‘acceleration agenda’ has been concluded by the Pact partners: actions include making binding the rulings of the ‘Fitting Education’ (Passend Onderwijs) Disputes Committee on the placement of pupils in appropriate education settings. The Ministry of Education also intends to provide improved information to parents and to strengthen the care duty of schools. As of November 2019, compliance with the care duty is part of the 4-yearly school evaluation by the Education Inspectorate.

Fragmentation of the school system presents a risk to equity. Differences between schools in the Netherlands have the highest impact on pupil performance of all EU countries. This means that the achievements of individual pupils are closely linked to the choice of the school and its educational track. Schools may choose a curriculum with a specific profile such as science, culture or media literacy, or a special education concept such as Montessori or Agora education. The number of such special profile schools has increased sharply since 2000, especially in secondary education (Education Inspectorate, 2019). The Education Council has warned against increasing fragmentation, on the basis that it may lead to greater segregation and narrowing of learning paths (Education Council, 2019b). In 2019, the Ministry made additional funding available for local or regional projects promoting equity in education. Eligible activities include training primary school teachers about the orientation advice that determines pupils’ school career, developing innovations in education, activities to increase the involvement of lower-educated parents in the education of their children, and coaching and career orientation for pupils with less educated parents. In total, funding of EUR 3 920 million was earmarked for 2019 and EUR 3 080 for 2020.

The Netherlands faces an increasing shortage of teachers. The teacher shortage at primary schools is projected, on current trends, to reach 8 000 full-time equivalents in 10 years (Government, 2019b). 35% of all primary teachers are aged 50 or over, and only one in three teachers works full-time. Teacher shortages will be highest (9.5%) in the ‘Randstad’, covering the four largest cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) and their surrounding areas (Education Inspectorate, 2020). Outside the Randstad the average teacher shortage will be 2.5%. In December 2019, the government announced a series of measures to reduce teacher shortages (Government, 2019c). These include investment in combating shortages in the Randstad, extra funding for continuing professional development and to reduce the workload of teachers, investments in teachers’ initial education, and mentoring at the start of the career. In its formal advice of 2018, the Education Council proposed more flexible structures in initial teacher education and working arrangements that support continuing professional development within schools. The Council also recommended offering specialisations in teaching a particular age group and qualifications covering a number of educational sectors and subject areas. Following the advice, the government set up an expert committee at the end of 2019 to produce plans on how to change the qualifications system.

The distribution of qualified teachers varies markedly by region and by composition of the school population. In primary education, teachers with a master’s degree teach more often in schools with a high percentage of students with high-educated parents. The share of teachers from a non-western migrant background is only 3.7% (Education Inspectorate, 2020) and they tend to teach in schools with more students from a similar background. Shortages are more acute in schools where the majority is of a non-western background: in 2017/2018, 13% of schools with 0-25% students from a migrant background were looking for teachers through job sites, compared with 48% of schools with 75-100% of pupils from a migrant background (Figure 2). The percentage of lessons taught by unqualified teachers is higher in pre-vocational secondary education (VMBO) than in general upper secondary education (HAVO and VWO).

Figure 4 - Differences between primary schools in their search for teachers, in percentage, 2018

Source: Dutch Education Inspectorate, 2019.

Curriculum revision remains on the agenda. In 2015, the Ministry of Education established an advisory commission, ‘Platform Onderwijs2032’, to reflect on the future of education and make recommendations for reform. The commission initiated a nationwide dialogue on the compulsory education curriculum. Based on the public consultation, the Platform presented a proposal in 2016. In 2018, almost 150 teachers and school leaders started working in teams on nine learning areas, with the aim of proposing a general concept and building blocks for each area by autumn 2019. The Minister of Education submitted an opinion on these proposals to Parliament in late 2019. In discussions in March 2020, Parliament was divided over the continuation of the curriculum revision in its current form. It was agreed that a temporary scientific committee should be set up to manage the next steps (OCW, 2020a). The committee will bring together field specialists and curriculum experts to develop new core objectives for primary and secondary education.

Special measures were taken to reduce the adverse impact of school closure linked to the COVID-19 pandemic between March and May. In April the Education Inspectorate carried out a representative survey among primary schools on how they managed distance education (Education Inspectorate, 2020b). 94% of schools reported that the switch went well. In 84% of schools almost all pupils participated to 100%; in 14% of schools this share was 75%. Main obstacles to participation were limited support from parents, difficulties with autonomous work and poor language skills. In June a subsidy was created for schools to organise extra-curricular support programmes for pupils who accumulated a learning deficit during the lockdown (OCW, 2020b).

6. Modernising vocational education and training

Graduates from vocational education and training (VET) fare well on the labour market. 90.4% of recent VET graduates had a job in 2019, one of the highest rates in the EU, where the average is 79.1%. According to an employers’ survey, demand for professionals with a secondary VET qualification even surpassed that for tertiary graduates (UWV, 2019). More than half of the vacancies required professionals with a secondary vocational training qualification while one third required high-skilled people. The share of VET pupils from the total upper secondary school population is high, at 67.5% in 2018 (EU average 48.4%).

The 2019-2022 quality agreements aim to further improve the quality of VET provision. The Macro-effectiveness Act adopted in 2015 aimed to improve the match between VET programmes and labour market needs (OECD, 2018). The law encourages schools to cooperate instead of competing with each other, to prevent multiple schools in the same area from offering similar tracks. Before launching new educational programmes, schools are required to coordinate their plans. The 2018 quality agreements allow each vocational secondary school (mbo) to frame their own strategy and priorities for 2019-2022, in consultation with regional partners (OCW, 2018b). Funding of approximately EUR 400 million a year was earmarked for quality agreements, of which 25% is performance-based. As of 2019, vocational and general secondary schools can apply jointly for a subsidy to tackle shortages of teachers in their region (Government, 2019c). Subsidies may reach EUR 250 000 per region, and can be increased by up to EUR 75 000 if one or more VET schools are involved.

New measures aim to improve the legal situation of VET students. In a new bill the term ‘participant’ is replaced by ‘student’, giving VET students similar rights as for tertiary students. The proposal also introduces a ‘VET declaration’ (mbo verklaring) for early school leavers, to validate the competences acquired before leaving the programme. This should help them find a job. Another novelty of the bill is the ‘VET student funds’, a pool created by each VET school from their central financing to support disadvantaged students at risk of dropping out.

A subsidy scheme was introduced to support the joint development of flexible VET programmes in 2019. This aims to stimulate public and private secondary VET institutions to jointly develop flexible vocational programmes for the ‘third learning pathway’, corresponding to the needs of employees and job seekers. Such programmes are tailored to the target group in terms of duration and the number of training hours. EUR 20 million is available over 4 years for the development of innovative programmes, working methods and materials addressing regional skills needs that can also be used in other VET programmes.

Box 1: The Twente Fund for Craftmanship

Budget: Total EUR 8.3 million of which EUR 0.5 million from ESF

Duration: January 2019 – December 2022

Implementing body: Leerwerkloket Twente in cooperation with Loopbaanstation

The Twente Fund for Craftsmanship is a collaboration of entrepreneurs, educational institutions, public employment services and local and regional governments. The Fund supports employed or self-employed people and job seekers wishing to develop and acquire new skills in any area of vocational training.

The Fund pays a maximum of EUR 5 000 per training course per participant.

Participants: In May 2020, a total of 2 667 applications were received, of which 747 were granted, from over 14 municipalities and 14 different fields of education. and

7. Modernising higher education

Tertiary attainment and graduate employment rates are well above the EU average. 51.4% of the population aged 30-34 holds a tertiary degree (EU average 40.3%). The attainment rate among the EU-born population from outside the Netherlands (53.4%) surpasses that of the native population (52.7%) and it is also relatively high among the non EU-born (42.1%; EU average 34.2%). The employment rate of recent tertiary graduates was very high: 94.0% in 2019 (EU average 85.0%).

The first 15 quality plans were approved in 2019 (OCW, 2019b). In 2014, the previous partly grant-based student finance system was replaced by low-interest loans provided by government. The aim was to invest the savings resulting from this reform in the quality of tertiary education. In 2018, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science signed an agreement with the Association of Research Universities, the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences and student organisations about shaping the quality agreements for 2019-2024, which link the release of the performance-related part of the budget for each higher education institution to approval of their quality plan. The plans of all 54 institutions were assessed by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) in the first half of 2020. The quality plans are linked to EUR 2.3 billion of funding in the years 2019-2024.

The 2019 Language and Access bill aims to cap tuition fees to ensure studies remain accessible to Dutch students. The steadily increasing share of foreign students raised concerns about the accessibility of tertiary education to native students. In order to attract foreign students, a growing number of degree programmes are offered in English, especially at master’s level (three quarters of programmes). One in five students starting a university bachelor’s degree is a non-national. In master programmes, this share rises to almost 30% (Education Inspectorate, 2019). Students following a second bachelor or master programme after completing a first one, and students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), need to pay an institutional tuition fee. The fee is determined by the institution and may not be lower than the statutory tuition fees for first study programmes. The proposal would cap the institutional tuition fee for Dutch and EEA students at around the level of the minimum tuition fee for students from outside the EEA (Government, 2019c).

8. Promoting adult learning

Overall participation in adult learning is high and specifically encouraged among low-skilled people. 19.5% of adults have had a recent learning experience, compared with the EU average of 10.8%. However, low-skilled workers participate in learning activities much less frequently (at 9.9 %), increasing the risk that their skills will become outdated. To encourage adult learning, the government established the Work Position Incentive (Stimulans Arbeidsmarktpositie; STAP) budget. This offers a personal development budget of up to EUR 1 000 per year for individuals with or without a job as of 1 January 2022. Another large scale initiative addresses adult illiteracy. In March 2019, the government earmarked EUR 425 million for the ‘Count with language’ programme for 2020-2024, an increase of EUR 35 million over 2015-2019. The aim is to reach out to illiterate Dutch native speakers and promote digital skills. The Language Accord for Employers, implemented by UWV/Leerwerkloketten, aims to support employers by improving the basic skills of their employees and to make basic skills part of their HR policy (STVDA, 2019).

Box 2: Adults receive support to develop their digital skills.

The government launched the digital government programme in 2017 to encourage people to manage as many things online as possible. To make online services accessible to all, the government invests in identifying people with low basic and digital skills and provides them with learning support. Every year, municipalities receive about EUR 60 million to address learning needs in language, mathematics and, since 2018, digital skills. In 2015, the National Library of Netherlands started the programme ‘Library and Basic Skills’ which builds on the role of libraries as non-formal education and information centres for people who find it difficult to deal with e-government. In 2019, a network of Government Digital Service Information Desks was created in public libraries across the country. Since then, libraries not only offer ICT skills training but also serve as the first point of information service about e-government.

9. References

CBS (2019): Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek: Trends in the Netherlands.

CBS (2020): Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek: De arbeidsmarkt in cijfers 2019.

CEPS (2019): Centre for European Policy Studies: Index of readiness for digital lifelong learning.

Deloitte et al. (2019): 2nd Survey of Schools: ICT in Education

Education Council (2019a): Onderwijsraad en Raad voor Cultuur: Lees! Een oproep tot een leesoffensief.

Education Council (2019b): Onderwijsraad: Doorgeschoten differentiatie in het onderwijsstelsel.

Education Inspectorate (2019): Inspectie van het Onderwijs: De Staat van het Onderwijs 2019.

Education Inspectorate (2020a): Inspectie van het Onderwijs: De Staat van het Onderwijs 2020.

Education Inspectorate (2020b): Inspectie van het Onderwijs: COVID-19-monitor.

Government (2016): The government of the Netherlands: Thuiszitterspact.

Government (2018): The government of the Netherlands: Wet van 15 juni 2018 tot wijziging van onder meer de Wet educatie en beroepsonderwijs in zake regionale samenwerking voortijdig schoolverlaten en jongeren in een kwetsbare positie.

Government (2019a): The government of the Netherlands: Besluit vaststelling Beleidsregels subsidie regionale samenwerking ter bevordering van kansengelijkheid in het onderwijs.

Government (2019b): The government of the Netherlands: Kamerbrief over de arbeidsmarkt voor leraren 2019.

Government (2019c): The government of the Netherlands: Werken in het onderwijs.

Government (2019d): The government of the Netherlands: Voorstel van wet taal en toegankelijkheid.

MPI (2019): Migration Policy Institute: Migration in the Netherlands: Rhetoric and Perceived Reality Challenge Dutch Tolerance.

OCW (2018a): Ministry of Education, Culture and Science: Kamerbrief over uitwerking Regeerakkoordmaatregel versterking voorschoolse educatie.

OCW (2018b): Ministry of Education, Culture and Science: Regeling kwaliteitsafspraken 2019-2022.

OCW (2019a): Ministry of Education, Culture and Science: Digitaliseringsagenda primair en voortgezet onderwijs.

OCW (2019b): Ministry of Education, Culture and Science: Besteding opbrengsten leenstelsel en stand van zaken Kwaliteitsafspraken.

OCW (2020a): Ministry of Education, Culture and Science: Bijstelling en aanscherping en vervolgproces actualisatie curriculum primair en voortgezet onderwijs.

OCW (2020b): Ministry of Education, Culture and Science: Subsidieregeling inhaal- en ondersteuningsprogramma’s gepubliceerd.

OECD (2018): OECD: Dilemmas of central governance and distributed autonomy in education.

Onderwijs in cijfers (2020):

STVDA (2019): Stichting Van de Arbeid: Bijdrage van de Nederlandse sociale partners aan het Nationaal Hervormingsprogramma in het kader van de EU-2020-strategie Maart 2018 — februari 2019.

UWV (2019): Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen: Moeilijk vervulbare vacatures.

Volkskrant (2020): Hoog verzuim onder basisschoolleerlingen uit arme gezinnen uit angst voor coronavirus.

Annex I: Key indicators sources

Indicator Eurostat online data code
Early leavers from education and training edat_lfse_14 + edat_lfse_02
Tertiary educational attainment edat_lfse_03 + edat_lfs_9912
Early childhood education educ_uoe_enra10
Underachievement in reading, maths and science OECD (PISA)
Employment rate of recent graduates edat_lfse_24
Adult participation in learning trng_lfse_03
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP gov_10a_exp
Expenditure on public and private institutions per student educ_uoe_fini04
Learning mobility:
- Degree-mobile graduates
- Credit-mobile graduates
DG EAC computation based on Eurostat / UIS / OECD data

Annex II: Structure of the education system

Source: European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2020. The Structure of the European Education Systems 2019/2020: Schematic Diagrams. Eurydice Facts and Figures. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Comments and questions on this report are welcome and can be sent by email to:



1 Special primary schools are regular schools for children with a relatively low level of intelligence; children who have a learning disability or children who have behavioral problems. Sbo pupils are expected to reach the same knowledge level by the end of school as pupils in an ordinary primary school, but they may take longer.