Vmbo and havo graduates less likely to opt for further education: higher secondary education and gap year more popular

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New school-leaver factsheets on further education and transition to labor market



Graduates from secondary education (vmbo, havo and vwo) from school year 2020-2021 are less likely to move into further education (mbo, hbo or wo) compared to one cohort earlier. While of the 2019-2020 cohort 77% of havo-graduates still went to hbo and 78% of vwo graduates went to wo, in the 2020-2021 school year this had fallen to 71% and 74%, respectively. This decrease can be explained by a greater flow within secondary education; from vmbo to havo, and from havo to vwo, and an increase in havo and vwo graduates who chose a gap year. This and more is shown in the annual school-leaving survey by Maastricht University’s Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).

Better job market opportunities

The survey shows that graduates of the 2020-2021 school year found jobs relatively quickly; 88% started working immediately after graduation. This proportion is higher than graduates from one cohort year earlier and indicates a recovery in employment to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. Only 3.1% of graduates of school year 2020-2021 were unemployed in the autumn of 2022. Despite the fact that these graduates graduated during the COVID-19 pandemic, this does not seem to have had a negative impact on their transition to the labour market.

Early school leavers often employed

As in previous years, almost half (49%) of the early school leavers from the 2020-2021 school year indicated that school-related causes were the main reason for their early dropout. Almost a quarter (22%) indicated that (mental) health problems were the main reason. For almost one in 10 dropouts (9%), (entering) the labour market was the main reason. Remarkably, over the past five cohort years there has been hardly any change in the main reasons for dropping out. This suggests that labour market status, among other things, has not significantly influenced the choice to quit school. The survey does show that almost half (48%) of early school leavers were employed at the time of the survey, which is a slight increase compared to previous cohorts. Only a small percentage (3%) of them were unemployed in the second half of 2022. The remaining early school leavers were studying or combining work and study at that time. About two-thirds (64%) of early school leavers said they did not regret their decision to leave school without diploma.

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Factsheets (in Dutch)