European Education Area Progress Report 2021

Education and Training Monitor 2021


1. Key indicators

Figure 1 – Key indicators overview
Netherlands EU-27
2010 2020 2010 2020
EU-level targets 2030 target
Participation in early childhood education
(from age 3 to starting age of compulsory primary education)
≥ 96% 94.1%13 90.5%19 91.8%13 92.8%19
Low achieving eighth-graders in digital skills < 15% 26.4%13 : : :
Low achieving 15-year-olds in: Reading < 15% 14.3%09,b 24.1%18 19.7%09,b 22.5%18
Maths < 15% 13.4%09 15.8%18 22.7%09 22.9%18
Science < 15% 13.2%09 20.0%18 17.8%09 22.3%18
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) < 9% 10.1% 7.0% 13.8% 9.9%
Exposure of VET graduates to work based learning ≥ 60% : : : :
Tertiary educational attainment (age 25-34) ≥ 45% (2025) 40.3% 52.3% 32.2% 40.5%
Participation of adults in learning (age 25-64) ≥ 47% (2025) : : : :
Other contextual indicators
Education investment Public expedienture on education as a percentage of GDP 5.6% 5.0% 5.0% 4.7%19
Expenditure on public and private institutions per FTE/student in € PPS ISCED 1-2 €7 41912 €8 00318 €6 07212,d €6 35917,d
ISCED 3-4 €9 40912 €10 27718 €7 36613,d €7 76217,d
ISCED 5-8 €14 66712 €14 11018 €9 67912,d €9 99517,d
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) Native 10.1% 6.6% 12.4% 8.7%
EU-born 13.6% 9.8% 26.9% 19.8%
Non EU-born 10.9% 11.5% 32.4% 23.2%
Upper secondary level attainment (age 20-24, ISCED 3-8) 77.3% 83.1% 79.1% 84.3%
Tertiary educational attainment (age 25-34) Native 42.0% 52.8% 33.4% 41.3%
EU-born 43.6% 55.6% 29.3% 40.4%
Non EU-born 28.1% 45.0% 23.1% 34.4%

Source: EEurostat (UOE, LFS, COFOG); OECD (PISA). 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; the indicator used (ECE) refers to early-childhood education and care programmes which are considered by the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) to be ‘educational’ and therefore constitute the first level of education in education and training systems – ISCED level 0; FTE = full-time equivalent; b = break in time series, d = definition differs, u = low reliability, := not available, 09 = 2009, 12 = 2012, 13 = 2013, 17 = 2017, 18 = 2018, 19 = 2019.

Figure 2 - Position in relation to strongest and weakest performers

Source: DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, based on data from Eurostat (LFS 2020, UOE 2019) and OECD (PISA 2018).

2. Highlights

  • Pupils’ safety and well-being at school is actively supported.
  • Education received extraordinary additional funding to compensate for students’ learning losses linked to school closures.
  • The fragmentation of the school system reduces educational equity and its effect was exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • Though tertiary education is highly accessible, financing appears to be insufficient for organising small-group tuition and investment in several areas.

3. A focus on well-being in education and training

By comparison with other countries, Dutch 15-year-olds feel safe at school and experience a high degree of well-being. The proportion of students who reported being bullied at least a few times a month is one of the lowest in the EU (12% against an EU average of 22%) (OECD, 2019). 79% of students reported being satisfied with their lives (OECD average: 67%) and the proportion of students reporting that they feel lonely at school (8%) was half the OECD average. While the disciplinary climate is one of the worst, the Netherlands had one of the highest scores among PISA countries on the sense of belonging index.

School safety is monitored regularly. Pupils’ well-being is defined as ‘having positive feelings about class and classmates, in the form of, for example, being able to be yourself, feeling comfortable and at home’ (OCW, 2016). Since 2015, schools have had the legal obligation to safeguard their pupils’ safety at school (Government, 2015). School boards are thereby obliged to implement a social safety policy, appoint a contact person for bullying, also responsible for coordinating actions against bullying, and monitor the social safety of pupils using a standardised instrument. While school boards monitor safety yearly at the level of the school, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science carries out a national survey every 2 years.

Study shows success with combating bullying. In 2014, the School Safety Monitor, an instrument for monitoring bullying in schools, prompted the government to start a study on bullying at school (OCW, 2018a). Secondary education was not included in the study as there are fewer anti-bullying programmes available for this age group. The report revealed that nearly one in three children is bullied at primary school; a much higher rate than that recorded for 15-year-olds in PISA 2018. It also showed the importance of monitoring as pupils tend to be bullied more often than they report. On a positive note, the report also showed that bullying can be effectively reduced with targeted programmes.

Specific measures were taken to support and survey pupils’ well-being during school closures. Families received information and advice about distance learning, including on how to reduce stress and motivate children (NJI, 2021a). In December 2020, the government announced that it would make EUR 58.5 million available to municipalities to offer activities and meetings designed with and for young people (OCW, 2020). Numerous studies looked into the impact of the pandemic on children, young people and families. To provide an overview of the available surveys and analyses, a literature report was drawn up by the Netherlands Youth Institute, presenting 128 different sources (NJI, 2021b). According to the report, the effects on young people’s mental well-being, children’s school outcomes and young people’s incomes are clearly negative. On the positive side, many students became more autonomous, parents got more involved with school and online education was used and recognised as useful.

Study reveals serious emotional problems among children. A study published in January 2021 looked at the topics preoccupying children during the pandemic by analysing the forum chats and telephone conversations of the children’s telephone helpline, De Kindertelefoon1. The study found that the conversations during the second lockdown (from December 2020) addressed domestic violence and emotional problems such as loneliness and depression more often than before the second lockdown. It was also noted that children talked much less about normal adolescent matters such as love or friendships. An increasing number of 16 and 17-year-olds were calling De Kindertelefoon to talk about mental problems.

4. Investing in education and training

In 2019, public expenditure on education decreased slightly. Expenditure on pre-primary to tertiary education accounted for 5.0% of the Netherlands’ GDP - down from 5.1% in 2018 but still well above the EU average of 4.7%. General government expenditure on education was also higher than the EU average as a proportion of total general government expenditure (11.8% vs 10.0%). In real terms, however, there was a 0.9% fall in education spending from 2018 to 2019. Between 2010 and 2019, spending on education fell by 0.5% in real terms. It decreased most (9%) in pre-primary and primary education. In secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education it increased by 1.9%, and in tertiary education by 12.5%. This is linked to funding based on the number of pupils. While since 2010 the student population had shrunk in pre-primary and primary education by 7.85%, it had grown sharply (by 16.89%) in tertiary education.

Financing is found to be insufficient to address challenges. In April 2020, the McKinsey Institute published a study on the efficiency and adequacy of spending in primary and secondary education (McKinsey, 2020). According to the study, spending efficiency is at the average level for Europe as a whole. Educational outcomes differ strongly between schools, e.g. an average primary school pupil at one of the 10% best performing schools will be recommended to move on to a higher track of secondary education than if they attended one of the 10% lowest performing schools. In 2019, the government’s structural investment in basic education in real terms was EUR 1.7 billion more than in 2009. However, this amount was completely offset by the EUR 1.9 billion decrease in expenditure from decentralised sources. Municipalities spend less on compensation for educational disadvantages, early childhood education and educational counselling, for example. The study concludes that expenditure on primary and secondary education is not enough to allow schools to pursue higher ambitions than meeting basic quality criteria, to address the country-wide teacher shortage and high work pressure or the increasing quality differences between schools.

In February 2021, the government announced an extraordinary additional investment in education to compensate for the learning losses linked to the pandemic. The National Education Programme encompasses all levels from primary to tertiary education and has a budget of EUR 8.5 billion. Primary schools will receive an average of EUR 180 000 and secondary schools around EUR 1.3 million each in the next school year. Schools with a higher proportion of disadvantaged pupils will receive proportionally more money. Schools were requested to carry out a ‘school scan’ and on that basis to choose projects for the next two and a half years from a list the government published in May 2021. Schools are responsible for the design, implementation and monitoring of the projects. Of the total amount, approximately EUR 5.8 billion is for school education, and EUR 2.7 billion for vocational training and higher education. In higher education, the money will be used to reimburse student tuition fees to compensate for the lack of in-class education and the study delays linked to the pandemic. The programme will run until 2023.

5. Modernising early childhood and school education

Participation in early childhood education and care (ECEC) is close to the EU average; recent investment aims to improve quality and participation time. From age 3, 90.5% of children participate in ECEC, which is below both the EU average (92.8%) and the new EU-level target of 96% set for 2030. For 2020, the government made an extra EUR 170 million available to improve the quality of ECEC (OCW, 2018b). 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 ECEC staff to tertiary level, evaluate equal educational opportunities, and support municipalities and ECEC providers working to reduce educational disadvantages.

Discrimination in childcare support led to the fall of the government in January 2021. A parliamentary committee report of December 2020 revealed that ‘fundamental principles of the rule of law had been violated’ in the administration of childcare subsidies. The tax office claimed back childcare support payments from some 26 000 parents between 2013 and 2019. Families, often from an immigrant background, were identified as fraudsters over minor errors such as missing signatures on paperwork, with no means of redress. In 2020 the tax office admitted that 11 000 people had been singled out for extra scrutiny simply because of their ethnic origin or dual nationality. The government apologised for the tax office’s methods and set aside more than EUR 500 million in compensation, about EUR 30 000 for each family. The government eventually resigned, assuming political responsibility for the scandal.

Quality in ECEC is assessed regularly by the National Childcare Quality Monitor. The aim of the Monitor (Landelijke Kwaliteitsmonitor Kinderopvang - LKK) is to provide information about quality in childcare using structural and pedagogical criteria. Exceptionally, this assessment could not be carried out in 2020 because of the pandemic but some other in-depth analyses were conducted (OCW, 2020b). One of them looked at the differences between various criteria and found no significant quality gaps between regions and between urban and rural settings. However, the quality of childcare showed a positive correlation with services for children with an educational disadvantage, the so called early childhood education2. The study did not find a relationship between price and quality for day care.

The Netherlands has already reached the EU-level target (less than 9%) for early leavers from education and training. After increasing for 3 years, in 2020 early school leaving fell by 0.5 percentage points, to 7%. In 2015, the Netherlands set itself a related national target for 2021: to reduce the number of young people leaving education without a basic qualification during a school year to below 20 000. This number started rising in 2016/2017, reaching 26 894 in 2018/2019, but dropped to 22 785 in 2019/2020. This may be due to a lack of data as schools were exempted from reporting absences to municipalities after the school closure of March 2020.

There has been a decline in basic skills as measured by the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Over the long term, a downward trend in mean scores can be observed across the board. The proportion of top performers (Levels 5 or 6) in science and mathematics is above the EU average but has been in decline in all three domains since 2009. The proportion of underachievers is close to the EU-level target of 15% in mathematics (15.8% vs 22.9%) but above it in science (20% vs 22.3%) and especially in reading (24.1% vs 22.5%). 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.

During school closures, schools received considerable assistance and additional funding. Kennisnet – a semi-public organisation dedicated to ICT-innovation in school education and vocational training - supported schools in organising distance learning, planning classes and obtaining an overview of available digital resources. 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. In spring 2020, the government made EUR 244 million available for schools to assist students to catch up on work missed due to the pandemic. In October 2020, the government provided an additional EUR 38 million (OCW, 2020).

First data on learning losses is worrisome. During the first school closure, 70% of schools spent at least three quarters of the teaching time on the core subjects of language, mathematics and reading. After reopening, this remained the case in 30% of schools. A survey carried out among primary pupils (Nationaal Cohortonderzoek Onderwijs) shows that pupils’ learning progress dropped in all grades (Education Inspectorate, 2021). Compared to 2019, the level of reading skills, vocabulary and mathematics among first graders in secondary schools had decreased. Pupils at all levels of secondary education performed less well in reading and especially in mathematics. Pupils’ learning deficit differs greatly according to the educational attainment level of their parents. While pupils with highly skilled parents show no significant deficit, pupils with low-skilled parents had made only about 85% of the progress expected for their grade.

The absence of centralised final tests in 2020 may have reduced pupils’ upstreaming chances. In 2020, the centralised end-of-primary tests were cancelled and pupils were recommended to move on to particular secondary schools based on their primary school’s assessment alone. This resulted in a smaller proportion (by 3% or about 14 000) of pupils going into general secondary education than in other years. Usually around 8% of pupils are advised to choose a higher track if they score better in the centralised tests than in the school assessment. This is mainly the case for children with an immigrant background, and those of parents with a lower income or educational attainment. The fact that this opportunity was not available in 2020 may have increased inequality.

Early tracking may be a factor in inequalities. Dutch children are streamed into different secondary education tracks by performance-based selection at age 12. This can lead to inequalities as pupils with the same cognitive capacities, but different backgrounds, may end up at different educational levels. In 2021, the Education Council3 published an opinion on later selection in response to a request from the government (Education Council, 2021). It recommends abolishing the end-of-primary test and postponing the time of selection nationally and simultaneously at all schools; this would require an adjustment of the whole secondary education structure. The Council also recommends providing more flexible, tailor-made education in primary and secondary schools, allowing pupils to follow education at different levels in different groups. The Council also draws attention to gifted pupils, who are not given enough challenges to develop their capacities.

Shadow education may further strengthen inequalities. A quarter of pupils in the final year of primary and nearly one third in secondary school have some form of private support (Bisschop et al., 2019 in: Education Inspectorate 2021). Over the past 15 years, families’ annual spending on shadow education with registered providers grew more than 10-fold, from EUR 26 million in 1995 to EUR 284 million in 2019. Real expenditure is probably higher as much of this private education takes place in informal settings. Shadow education represents a risk of increasing educational inequalities as not all families are able to pay for it.

Segregation of pupils with disabilities has increased. Since 2014, all schools are responsible for placing every child, including those with special educational needs, in a suitable educational setting (passend onderwijs), preferably in mainstream education. Despite this legal obligation, which is in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the influx of children with disabilities into special education has increased since 2015, while the special education school-leaving age was lowered from 20 to 18 years. The proportion of children with a disability receiving support in mainstream education fell between 2015 and 2016 from 1% to 0.3%. Between 2015 and 2018, the number of children with disabilities and complex support needs who are not accepted in any school but are referred to day-care centres increased by 36% (European Commission, 2021).

Teacher induction programmes receive extra support. In 2021 and 2022, EUR 88 million were made available to strengthen schools’ personnel policy. School boards can use this budget to improve, among other things, the induction programmes for starting teachers. The Secondary School Council produced a roadmap to help schools draft and implement their programmes. A related network will also be launched in September 2021. This measure is part of the sectoral agreement for secondary education, according to which school boards need to ensure that starting teachers follow an effective induction and supervision programme as part of their strategic personnel policy (Secondary School Council, 2021).

6. Modernising vocational education and training and adult learning

Vocational education and training (VET) is popular and graduates fare well on the labour market. The proportion of upper secondary school pupils participating in VET was 67.5% in 2019. The employment rate of recent VET graduates is 84.7% (vs a 76.1% EU average). In 2020 there was an increase in the number of students who continued on to higher education. However, since the introduction of the study loan system in 2015-2016, the proportion of VET graduates going on to higher education has declined.

Efforts have been made to reduce early school leaving and to combat discrimination at companies. In 2017, an Equal Opportunities Alliance was set up, involving diverse stakeholders which are encouraged to develop activities to promote equal opportunities. In November 2020, the Ministry of Education, together with a number of stakeholders, launched the campaign ‘Kiesmij’ (Choose me) to fight work placement discrimination against VET learners with a non-Western migration background; a knowledge centre for equal opportunities was also introduced. The impact of these efforts remains to be seen as discrimination persists (Verwey-Jonker, 2021). In 2020, the government also presented an agenda to improve inclusiveness in VET for the period 2020-2025 (Government, 2020).

Participation in adult learning is high and efforts are made to reach those most in need. Some 19.8% of adults participate in a learning activity (vs a 9.2% EU average). In October 2018, the government adopted a new lifelong learning strategy and multiannual action plan, to which a detailed roadmap was added in November 2020. An important measure of this strategy is the introduction of a public individual learning and development account (STAP – Stimulans Arbeidsmarktpositie), which will enter into force in January 2022. Anyone with a link to the Dutch labour market will be able to receive a subsidy of up to EUR 1 000 to cover their personal development and employability training costs. The measure will have an annual budget of EUR 200 million and will replace the previous option of tax deductions for educational expenses. In addition, the renewed action programme ‘Tel mee met Taal 2020-2024’, promotes the development of adults’ language, arithmetic and digital skills, with an annual budget of EUR 10 million. Finally, a package of measures was adopted in 2020 to mitigate the employment and social impact of the pandemic. The ‘Steun en Herstelpakket’ [Support and Recovery Package] includes a wide range of measures, including support for upskilling and reskilling to preserve employment, various training offers and measures to tackle youth unemployment.

Box 1: ESF project for employment: House of Skills

House of Skills is a public-private partnership in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area which brings together representatives from the business community, industry bodies, employee and business associations, universities and research institutes, the education sector and local government. The mission is to direct today’s labour market towards a more skills-based focus, by making inter-sectoral mobility easier, and by approaching learning as a lifelong practice. To do this, tools are developed that facilitate skills matching for employers, employees, and job seekers. House of Skills has an important role as a retraining centre, including through VET. Nearly 400 people have participated in a skills project thus far.

Project duration: September 2017- September 2021

ESF contribution: EUR 1 591 074

Total budget: EUR 10 660 055

7. Modernising higher education

Tertiary attainment and graduate employment rates are well above the EU average. 52.3% of the population aged 25-34 holds a tertiary degree (EU: 40.5%). The proportion of highly skilled women in this age group exceeds that of men by 9.6 percentage points (EU average: 10.8). The attainment rate among the EU-born population from outside the Netherlands (55.6%) surpasses that of the native population (52.8%) and is also relatively high among the non EU-born (45.0%; EU average: 34.4%). The employment rate of recent tertiary graduates is very high, at 94.5% (EU average: 83.7%).

A record number of young people are enrolled in higher education. In 2020, more secondary school graduates entered higher education than in the previous years and fewer dropped out from their studies. This is partly linked to the fact that fewer young people took a gap year because of the travel restrictions and uncertainties resulting from the pandemic. The other possible reason is the fact that the ‘binding study advice’ – which is issued to students who fail to meet the requirements associated with the first year of their study programme – was exceptionally abolished for 2019-2020.

Figure 3 - Full-time entrants to BA and MSc programmes between 2012-2020

Source: Education Inspectorate, 2021

Drawing lots may be used again to ensure the fair selection of students. In March 2021, the Cabinet proposed an amendment to the Act on Higher Education, allowing higher education institutions to draw lots again in order to select students for a study programme with a numerus fixus4 (OCW, 2021). Since 2013, students for such study programmes have been selected based on at least two quality criteria, such as students’ marks and motivation interviews. The student population of these programmes appears to be less diverse than those of other programmes, which suggests that these programmes are less accessible for certain groups of students. The Ministry of Education considers that drawing lots represents an objective selection method and will therefore help increase educational equity. The amendment would make drawing lots obligatory for all associate degree programmes and all Bachelor’s programmes with a numerus fixus.

A growing number of students take medication to improve academic performance. The use of ADHD medication grew from 0.8% in 2009/2010 to 2.9% in 2018/2019 among 17-24 year-old higher education students (Fig. 3) (Education Inspectorate, 2021). Use was even higher among vocational students and among young people not in education. As many students take this type of medication without a prescription from a physician it is likely that actual use among students is higher than 2.9%. A survey among students in Groningen, for example, revealed that 16% of the respondents without an ADHD diagnosis also sometimes took ADHD medication. The health risks are high, and include psychoses, heart rhythm disorders and even sudden death.

Figure 4 - The frequency of medication use among 17-24 year-olds from 2009 to 2018

Source: Education Inspectorate, 2021. Years before 2014 are estimates for non-higher education students.

Micro-credentials pilot launched in 2021. As part of the ‘Acceleration Plan for Education Innovation with ICT’5, a pilot project called ‘Micro-credentials in higher education’ will be launched in October 2021. The aim is to bring more flexibilisation to higher education, in line with the objectives of the Acceleration Plan. The pilot will run for two years and will be open to all Dutch public institutions. It focuses on professionals who want to undergo retraining, further training or upskilling. Micro-credentials offer professionals specific, short-term and certified training opportunities. They allow higher education institutions to broaden their educational offer and better adjust it to the needs of the labour market. Participating institutions can make use of an incentive scheme involving up to EUR 45 000 per year.

Study finds financing makes tertiary education highly accessible but is insufficient to allow small-group tuition or investment in a number of areas. Commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted research into the adequacy of the higher education budget to cover current costs and achieve the desired quality, the effectiveness of spending and the correctness of funding levels (PwC, 2021). The study found that tertiary education in the Netherlands is highly accessible, because financing follows the number of students. The macro budget covers universities’ current expenditure but does not allow tuition to be organised in smaller groups. The budget available for research staff fell by 36% between 2010 and 2018. Universities compensate for the research resources they do not have by using the funding for education – leaving less money available for other areas, such as support staff, facilities and housing.

8. References

Education Council (2021): Onderwijsraad: Later selecteren, beter differentiëren.

Education Inspectorate (2021): Inspectie van het Onderwijs: De Staat van het Onderwijs 2021.

Engzell, Frey et Verhagen (2021): Per Engzell, Arun Frey, and Mark D. Verhagen: Learning loss due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government (2020): Reactie op de evaluatie van passend onderwijs en advies Steeds inclusiever van de Onderwijsraad.

Government (2015): Wet Sociale veiligheid op scholen.

McKinsey (2020): McKinsey & Company: Een verstevigd fundament voor iedereen.

NJI (2021a): Nederlands Jeugdinstituut: Gevolgen corona voor schoolloopbaan van je kind.

NJI (2021b): Nederlands Jeugdinstituut: Effect van corona op jeugd, gezin en jeugdveld.,-gezin-en-jeugdveld

OCW (2016): Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap: Zorgplicht sociale veiligheid leerlingen op school.

OCW (2018a): Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap: Kamerbrief bij rapport ‘Wat Werkt tegen Pesten’.

OCW (2018b): Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap: Kamerbrief over uitwerking Regeerakkoordmaatregel versterking voorschoolse educatie.

OCW (2020a): Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap: Kabinet en gemeenten bieden samen met jongeren perspectief in coronatijd.

OCW (2020b): Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap: Verzamelbrief Kinderopvang december 2020.

OCW (2020c): Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap: Extra geld voor inlopen achterstanden vanwege corona.

OCW (2021): Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap: Loten voor studie zorgt voor kansengelijkheid.

OECD (2019): OECD: Education GPS. Netherlands - Student performance (PISA 2018).

PwC (2021): PwC Strategy&: Toereikendheid, doelmatigheid en kostentoerekening in het mbo, hbo en wo&o.

Secondary School Council (2021): VO-Raad: Start leernetwerk Begeleiding Startende Leraren: samenwerken aan visie, beleid en programma’s voor inductie.

Techniekpact (2021): Monitor Techniekpact.

Verwey-Jonker (2021): Verwey-Jonker Instituut: Ongelijke kansen op de stagemarkt.

Annex I: Key indicators sources

Indicator Eurostat online data code
Participation in early childhood education educ_uoe_enra21
Low achieving eighth-graders in digital skills IEA, ICILS.
Low achieving 15-year-olds in reading, maths and science OECD (PISA)
Early leavers from education and training Main data: edat_lfse_14.
Data by country of birth: edat_lfse_02.
Exposure of VET graduates to work based learning Data for the EU-level target is not available. Data collection starts in 2021. Source: EU LFS.
Tertiary educational attainment Main data: edat_lfse_03.
Data by country of birth: edat_lfse_9912.
Participation of adults in learning Data for the EU-level target is not available. Data collection starts in 2022. Source: EU LFS.
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP gov_10a_exp
Expenditure on public and private institutions per student educ_uoe_fini04
Upper secondary level attainment edat_lfse_03

Annex II: Structure of the education system

Source: European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2021. The Structure of the European Education Systems 2021/2022: Schematic Diagrams. Eurydice Facts and Figures. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

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1 De Kindertelefoon is a free helpline where children can have confidential conversations about subjects that they cannot, do not dare, or do not want to discuss with people in their environment. Volunteers listen to them and help them find solutions. If necessary, they refer children to specialist help and support them in taking the next step.

2 Early childhood education (Voor en vroegschoolse educatie - VVE) is part of the policy to eliminate educational disadvantages. Its aim is to better prepare toddlers with a possible language or other developmental delay for primary school and to ensure that pre-schoolers can start school without any such delay.

3 The Education Council is an independent governmental advisory body which advises the Minister, Parliament and local authorities.

4 A higher education institution may set a fixed capacity for certain study programmes. This is called the 'numerus fixus'. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of places available, a selection procedure takes place.

5 The Acceleration Plan is a cooperative venture to promote equal opportunities and digitalisation in higher education, involving 39 higher education institutions and SURF (collaborative organisation for ICT in education and research).