Don’t let high school students graduate if they fail Dutch exam, Inspectorate says

Secondary school- and secondary vocational education students should not get a diploma if they fail the Dutch language part of their course, inspector general Alida Oppers of the Education Inspectorate told AD.

“It is important to take a closer look at the standardization of the exams,” said the highest education official in our country to the newspaper. “Now the rules are such that you can continue with an unsatisfactory for Dutch. That really needs to change, as far as I”m concerned.”

Students who now get 4.5 as a final grade pass if they get sufficient marks in English and mathematics. According to the Education Inspectorate, about 20 percent of the HAVO and VWO students who graduated last year failed Dutch. In pre-vocational secondary education, that percentage was between 7 and 14, depending on the specialization. “So you give an MBO diploma, knowing that this student is not sufficiently equipped with the Dutch language to manage by himself in life,” said Oppers.

In response, Minister Dennis Wiersma for Primary and Secondary Education told AD: “We really have a big job when it comes to updating basic skills. The past coronavirus years have been tough specifically for Dutch, but it is important that young people follow what they read in their textbooks. So it’s good to think about how to raise that bar, how to make it better.”

Reporting by ANP

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