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Minister looks at raising school leaving age to 23

Tuesday 19 June 2012

The education ministry is looking into the possibility of keeping youngsters in education until they have either formal qualifications or reach the age of 23, education minister Marja van Bijsterveldt has told MPs.

At the moment, teenagers have to stay at school until they reach the age of 18 or pass school leaving exams.

Rotterdam had asked the minister for permission to experiment with the higher school leaving age in an effort to reduce youth unemployment. Bijsterveldt told MPs the measure is so far-reaching it needs to be formally investigated first. She expects a preliminary evaluation to be ready in the autumn.

The number of teenagers leaving school with no qualifications has almost halved over the past 10 years - from 71,000 in 2002 to 38,600 last year, according to education ministry figures.

The cabinet wants to reduce the number of unqualified school leavers to 25,000 a year by 2016.

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (9)

Why do we have to pay for youngsters that do not want to study until they are 23 whilst parents have to suffer the burden of paying for outrageous childcare costs until babies are 4 years old?

By Kate | June 19, 2012 8:33 AM

Seriously, does he REALLY think this will help. If an adult (and lets be honest here, 18 years old is already an adult) can't or won't get exam passes by the time they are 18, how on earth do you plan to force them to continue in education till they are 23! By this age you have to be allowed to make your own decisions. Those without exam passes need to work but they'll have to work in lower paid jobs. Making the welfare state really responsible is the way forward and not just handing out money willy-nilly. They'll soon work if they have to, exam passes or not!

By mazza, nijmegen | June 19, 2012 8:50 AM

Just what we need a nation of highly educated morons with no real world experience & if we stick with the Euro the'll have no jobs to go to either!

By Phil | June 19, 2012 9:21 AM

This is the "nanny state" going too far. A person who has attained the age of majority should be responsible for their actions. When young adults can fight wars, have sex, drink, etc., they should be responsible for their own education choices. It would make far more sense to limit welfare to people without qualifications or work experience than to force all young adults into compulsory education. Many young adults do better starting a business or gaining work experience than educational programs. This country goes too far in making what should be personal choices compulsory. It's no wonder so few adults in NL take responsibility for their actions – because they never need to bear the responsibility for their choices!

By Quest | June 19, 2012 3:28 PM

Now that is a REAL incentive for students and teachers to make sure a leaving qualification is secured. So, the Minister's solution when the system fails is just "more of the same." Good luck to the teachers! There must be some cave or mine where Education Ministers just emerge from time to time...no training necessary.

By A.J. | June 19, 2012 4:54 PM

If you wish to treat a 23 year old like a child, then do it thoroughly.

Free health insurance. Free travel on public transport. No taxes to pay. No pension obligation.

If you deny a young adult the right to earn his or her own living, or to make their own way in life, you will pay the price later in society when there isn't a Dutch entrepeneur to be found anywhere. The lack of intiative found in many young Dutch is alarming as it stands!

No other country, race, religion or tribe treats a 23 year old like they are a minor. It's time the politicians did some growing up.

By osita | June 19, 2012 5:36 PM

I work in a university and this is indeed outrageous. Dutch young adults need more incentives to grow up and earn a living, work hard and be competitive. That is the only way out of this economic crisis. We need better qualifications, not more 'InHolland' degrees

By Ijvm | June 19, 2012 7:40 PM

this simply makes concrete and public what many of us have known and experienced here for many years; namely that it takes the Dutch a good bit longer to mature and be able to act responsibly in the larger public world.
I have to firmly agree with osita in this statement: (almost) No other country, race, religion or tribe treats a 23 year old like they are a minor.

By Bill | June 20, 2012 6:55 AM

It is called "Hidden Unemployment". Smart idea to make the government look like they have everything under control. Ra Ra Nederland, Lowest youth unemployment, Highest % of qualified school leavers. An enviable record.

By jaycee | June 20, 2012 9:23 AM

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