- Basic overview of the way that the country's Adult Education system is organised, what kind of overall structure there is in place (if any), and which departments or organisations are part of this system.
The structure of adult education is similar to that of the compulsory education, in that it is characterised by a centralised system for content but a decentralised system for provision and access. In short this means that what is being taught is under guidelines from the Ministry of Education Culture and Science (including centralised funding), but the educational institutions and therefore the provision of the education falls under the responsibility of local municipal authorities. The main target groups for the local municipal authorities are illiterate adults, immigrants and elderly people and also specific groups such as young mothers or the long-term unemployed.
The knowledge and skills required of teachers in adult and vocational education are specified in the Adult and Vocational Education Act (WEB). Qualified secondary school teachers may also teach adult and secondary vocational courses; however graduates who have not undergone teacher training are required to obtain a certificate of competence, as designated by ministerial order. Certificates of competence are also required of people who have at least three years practical experience in the profession for which the course trains, or have gained the necessary skills through a combination of training and experience.
Key Providers/Main institutions/Sources for Adult Education
- List of key organisations and institutions within categories based on different forms of Adult Education, including a short description of each.
Secondary vocational education
The aim of secondary vocational education, as defined in the Adult and Vocational Education Act, is to provide both theoretical instruction and practical training in preparation for a wide range of occupations for which a vocational qualification is necessary or useful. It also furthers the general education and personal development of students and helps them to play an active part in society.
- Regional Training Centres (ROCs)
There are 41 regional training centres (ROCs) offering a complete range of adult and vocational education courses, both full-time and part-time. On 1 January 1998 institutions which were not part of an ROC ceased to be eligible for government funding with the exception of 13 specialist colleges providing training for a specific branch of industry. Two other institutions have been granted exemption on religious grounds, two are attached to Inholland, an institution of higher professional education and two are attached to institutes for the deaf.
- Agricultural Training Centres (AOCs)
Agricultural courses are now provided at agricultural training centres (AOCs). Vocational education courses in the agriculture and natural environment sector are the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The field which is subject to government policy - provided in the regional training centres in the form of adult basic education and literacy courses - is diminishing slowly over the years, with exception of the civic integration courses. However, this is set to further diminish in the future as the government have decided that in 2013 integration courses will no longer be subsidised.
National Qualification Strucure:
The national qualification structure for vocational education, comprising all qualifications and partial qualifications and the relevant diplomas and certificates, was introduced in 1997. The courses are divided into four levels. Students can take these courses consecutively, as the diploma from one course serves as the entry requirement for the next. For each course there are in principle two learning pathways:
- vocational training (BOL) where practical training will take up between 20% and 60% of the course;
- block or day release (BBL) where practical training will take up more than 60% of the course.
Secondary vocational education (MBO) provides both theoretical instruction and practical training in preparation for the practice of a wide range of occupations for which a vocational qualification is necessary or useful. It also furthers the general education and personal development of students and helps them to play an active part in society. Its main target group is young people from the age of sixteen. Vocational education within the meaning of the Adult and Vocational Education Act (WEB) does not include higher professional education (HBO).
All courses within the qualification structure are entered in the Central Register of Vocational Courses (CREBO). This register records:
- which institutions provide which courses;
- what the exit qualifications are;
- which learning pathway is involved and
- which of the partial qualifications awarded are subject to external validation.
The exit qualifications comprise an overview of the knowledge and skills students should have gained by the end of the course. The register also indicates which courses are funded by the government and which bodies are authorised to validate examinations. Anyone who wishes may consult the register to find out what courses are on offer and how they fit into the qualification structure.
Private (i.e. non-government-funded) educational institutions can incorporate their courses into the new system subject to the same conditions as government-funded institutions.
The courses vary in length:
- training to assistant level: 6 to 12 months (level 1);
- basic vocational training: 2 to 3 years (level 2);
- professional training: 2 to 4 years (level 3);
- middle-management training: 3 to 4 years (level 4)
- specialist training: 1 to 2 years (level 4)
- other courses, e.g. computer courses: at least 15 weeks.
Courses lead to qualifications for successively higher levels of professional practice, middle-management and specialist training courses being the fourth and highest level. For each course there are in principle two learning pathways: vocational training where practical training will take up between 20% and 60% of the course and block or day release where practical training will take up more than 60% of the course.
Adult education is geared to furthering the personal development of adults and their participation in society by developing their knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes in a way that fits in with their needs, potential and experience and the needs of society. Where possible, it brings students up to the level required for admission to vocational education courses. Adult education does not include any form of higher education. The main part of adult education in the Netherlands is non-formal either related to local policies or in the private sector
This non-formal education is in many respects distinct from formal education:
* The learner is in the centre of the learning process
* Course and learning content are adapted to the training requirements of participants.
* There is a strong connection to changes in the professional field
* Technological advances are followed and applied
* Training is adapted directly to changing requirements of the labour market.
* Teachers have practical experience in the professional field for which they teach
* The pathways are flexible and varied, customer-specific and demand-oriented.
* Individual and independent education is possible
* Participants have options and control over place and time of study
* Accreditation of prior learning - APL - (EVP and EVC) is taken into account
* The output of training and training investments are measurable
There is opportunity for a wide variety of study options: full-time and part-time learning, active learning & work combined (dual system), E-learning (CD-ROM, Internet, etc.), blended learning (combinations of learning methods), tailor-made job training and development, and in-company training.
The different sectors which make up adult and vocational education are represented by national bodies. These bodies primarily act as centres of knowledge and expertise and they also work to ensure the establishments offer sufficient good quality work placements to integrate training with the needs and realities of the work place and labour markets. Work experience was made compulsory in the Adult and Vocational Education Act (see Politics and Law in ‘Policy and Politics´) to guarantee the relevance of the courses to practice, and thus strengthen the ties between education and the labour market.
These national bodies currently are:
- the Bve Council (association of Vocational Education and Training-colleges)
- the AOC Council (association of agricultural colleges)
- PAEPON (platform for private teaching institutions)
- Colo (association of national bodies for vocational training)
- the JongerenOrganisatie Beroepsonderwijs (association of young people in vocational education)
- The ‘Nieuwe BV´ (expertise network for non-formal adult education and social participation)
- Foundation ABC, Union of adult literacy learners
In the Netherlands, university education focuses on training in academic disciplines, the independent pursuit of scholarship and the application of scholarly knowledge in the context of a profession and aims to improve understanding of the phenomena studied in the various disciplines and generate new knowledge. There are currently (2010) thirteen 'regular' universities in the Netherlands, including three technical universities and the Agricultural University in Wageningen, which is financed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality. Besides these, there are over 40 colleges offering different programmes for a variety of professions in a range of social areas.
Institutions for higher professional education (HBO institutions) provide theoretical and practical training for occupations for which a higher vocational qualification is either required or useful. Graduates find employment in various fields, including middle and high-ranking jobs in trade and industry, social services, health care and the public sector. In addition to government grants, these institutions rely on tuition fees and revenue from external work (primarily contract education).
In 2002, the main change in higher education was the implementation of the Bachelor and Master degree system, which is intended to give students greater international mobility. In concordance with this shift, the value of study programs must be more easily recognisable, and they will be accredited to indicate quality.
- Open Universiteit
The main provider for distance and e-learning in The Netherlands is the Dutch Open University (Open Universiteit), founded in 1984 by the government with the aim or offering university level education to those without formal qualifications and in a more accessible way. The Open Universiteit offers modular short courses, Bachelors and Masters degrees and short courses including short vocational training courses, postgraduate courses and short undergraduate programmes, which are developed in co-operation with universities of professional education (HBO), academic universities, professional bodies or commercial companies. There are also a number of short courses provided free of charge which are entirely online.
Written in association with Learn for Life, with extensive input and support from Jumbo Klercq
Educational system in The Netherlands, Eurydice-Report | 23-12-2005 | OCW http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten-en- publicaties/rapporten/2005/12/23/education-system-in-the-netherlands.html
OECD Thematic Review on Recognition of non-formal and informal learning, Country Background Report for the Netherlands May 10thth 2007 http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/4/22/41680313.pdf
Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Vocational education, training and adult education, http://english.minocw.nl/english/education/369/Vocational-education-training-and-adult-education.html
Eurydice report - The Netherlands, http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/eurybase/eurybase_full_reports/NL_EN.pdf
Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Higher Education http://english.minocw.nl/english/education/363/Higher-education.html
The Open Universiteit in the Netherlands, http://www.ou.nl/eCache/DEF/36.html
Nederlandse Raad voor Training en Opleiding (NRTO)http://www.nrto.nl
Netherlands Qualification Framework (NLQF) http://www.nlqf.nl