Vso students miss a fair chance at a diploma.
Vso students miss a fair chance at a diploma.

photo: Karen Hagen

Vso teacher wants equal opportunities for his students in exams

Pupils in secondary special education are often dependent on a state examination, which leads to unequal opportunities. With a petition, mathematics teacher Henk Vegter urges politicians to put an end to this.

State exam candidates are also entitled to their results!' Henk Vegter posted a video under this slogan Youtube. Vegter, a mathematics teacher at the Aurum College for VSO in Lelystad, has been annoyed for years by what he calls the gross inequality of opportunity between special and regular education. While regular exam candidates will receive the results of their exam on June 14, 2023, his students, who are dependent on state exams, will have to wait for weeks.

And that is disadvantageous, because the central written final exam (cse) is not the best for his students grand finale, but just the start. After this, they have to take an oral exam for each subject, the so-called college exam. “But because they don't know their cse grades yet, they can't adequately prepare for it and they miss a fair chance at a diploma."


In 2022, approximately 8700 people took the state exam. Many of them are VSO students. They are often obliged to do so because pre-university schools do not have any exam license*VSO traditionally falls under primary education. As a result, it has many teachers with a general teaching qualification and far fewer with a qualification for a specific subject. That is the reason that most VSO schools do not have an exam license. The state exam is not organized by the school, but by the government through the Education Executive Agency. It has been agreed in the coalition agreement that there will be a transition in which VSO will soon become specialized secondary education (GVO) and fall under the rules and rights for secondary education. Complete with exam license. to have. Where regular exam candidates collect grades spread over two years (together 50 percent of their school exams), and know exactly at the start of the central exams which subject they have to give extra effort for, pre-university students start blank. And for their oral exams they are still blank for a while, because they only receive their cse grades afterwards.

'Vulnerable students in particular benefit from a familiar environment'

Another point where Vegter's students are at a disadvantage is that they have to do their oral exams with two teachers unknown to them. Vegter himself also travels the country as an examiner for VMBO students. “We would prefer that our students are allowed to speak with their own teacher, if authorized, plus a foreign teacher,” says Vegter. “It often concerns vulnerable students and it is precisely these who benefit from a familiar environment.”

Parliamentary questions

The Education Executive Agency (DUO) and the Board for Tests and Exams (CvTE) do want to work towards a system of one in-house and one foreign examiner, but that will take several years.

'Announce the figures earlier, so that our students can prepare better'

Vegter can understand that. But he really does not understand why students are told the cse figures so late. “Because those figures are already there in mid-June. We have been calling for years: make them known, so that our students can prepare better.”

His lobby led to politicians from SP, GroenLinks and D66 asking parliamentary questions about this and urging the minister to 'keep going' and ensure that the exam results are equalized this school year for state exam and regular candidates. “I thought: yes finally!”

When Vegter was allowed to walk with Minister Dennis Wiersma, his first question was how things were going. “Wiersma immediately picked up his phone. He thought it was already settled. When he got no response from his official, he said: You will hear from us soon.”

And then it remained silent.

"They let me know it will take years"

In the 2021 annual report of the CvTE, in a dialogue between now former CvTE chairman Pieter Hendrikse and board member Andrea Kaim-Lamers, you can read how both are enthusiastic about 'reconsideration' of 'the way in which the central exams are embedded in VSO' .

But Vegter has not yet noticed much of decisiveness at CvTE and OCW. “They have informed me that it is not yet possible and that it will take years.” Vegter thinks that's crazy. Reason for him to start a petition; it has been signed more than 5000 times and can still be signed.

Sign the petition!

'This petition is his right,' the CvTE responds when asked. They praise the fact that Vegter has long since devoted himself 'with heart and soul' to his students. It is therefore not unwillingness, but logistics, which they believe is the bottleneck. 'We cannot yet guarantee that all state exam candidates, whether VSO or private, will receive their mark at the same time,' said the spokesperson. This is because there is insufficient time between the national exam and the college exams to correct and determine all grades. And it cannot be the case that one state examination candidate already knows the numbers and the other does not yet. 'We are working on it, but rules regarding privacy in combination with an outdated IT system are slowing things down.'

Inquiries at the ministry yielded a similar answer. “We are working hard on a solution,” said Wiersma's spokesperson.

Not convinced

Vegter knows these reactions and received them himself to his questions. He is by no means convinced. He is also a corrector of the cse's of state exam candidates. “The grading system, with two correctors, is the same as for regular student exams. So the timeline should also be the same.” And if the ICT system fails, he is prepared to personally travel to DUO in Groningen to collect the results. “We do that for our students. Now for the people who are about it.”

The petition 'Give state exam candidates their exam result on June 14, 2023' can still be signed until April 1

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