Final exams for some 206,870 school leavers kick off on Monday, and new rules mean the failure rate is likely to be higher than in recent years.
For the first time, pupils have to score an average of 5.5 out of 10 in every exam they take – and that means up to 10 subjects for some pupils. Previously, pupils could compensate for a failure in the national exams with a good mark in their school tests and course work – as long as the average was at least 5.5.
In total, 106,158 pupils in vocational training (vmbo), nearly 60,000 teenagers in pre-college streams (havo) and just over 41,000 in pre-university classes (vwo) are taking exams.
The exam period runs until June 1 and the results will be published around two weeks later.
In March, education ministry figures showed the number of school leavers passing their final exams has fallen over the past five years. In 2006, more than 93% of school leavers passed their exams, but in 2011 that had fallen to 90.5%.
The educational council VO said last year it expects an additional 18,000 pupils will fail to pass their school-leaving certificate this year because of the new rules.
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