Education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf wants to give trade schools (mbo) greater responsibility for finding internships for first year students in an effort to stop pupils with a minority background facing discrimination.
Research shows that ethnic minority mbo students find it much harder to get a work experience place and are more often turned down after being invited for an interview. Students are responsible for finding their own internships.
Dijkgraaf told MPs on Thursday he wants schools to play a more active role in matching students to companies and that companies should accept the student allocated to them.
The move is one of a package of measures the minister is implementing to meet ‘the future challenges facing the Netherlands’, such as the energy transition, solving the housing crisis and providing sufficient healthcare, Dijkgraaf said.
‘Equality among all students, mbo students is paramount to me,’ Dijkgraaf said. ‘We need all types of talent… and they deserve the appreciation that is due to them.’
Adnan Tekin, chairman of the mbo council, said he welcomed the positive approach the government is showing towards trade schools. However, the plan to tackle discrimination by giving the schools a greater role in allocating work experience places is too one-sided, he said.
‘You can also ask yourself whether it is in the interest of the student, who must learn to apply for jobs as part of their training,’ he said. ‘Removing prejudices requires far more than this.’
Almost 50% of Dutch youngsters attend a trade school or mbo college and Dijkgraaf also wants to make it easier for mbo students to move on to a degree college (hbo) or university.
The government is allocating €4.4 billion to improving the trade school system up to 2027.
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