The number of pupils leaving school without any form of qualification has almost halved since 2002, according to education ministry figures out on Wednesday.
Last school year, 39,600 pupils quit school without a certificate. Next year the target is 35,000, which would mean the drop out rate will have halved over 10 years. By 2016, the government hopes just 25,000 pupils will leave school without qualifications.
As part of renewed efforts to cut the drop out rate, schools which fail to reduce the number of hardcore truants will face a fine, education minister Marja Bijsterveldt said in a statement.
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