Far fewer students enrolled in VAVO education than in previous years.
Far fewer students enrolled in VAVO education than in previous years.

Image: XF&M

Roc's see VAVO courses shrinking

ROCs see their secondary general adult education (VAVO) shrinking sharply. This school year, a total of 9901 students registered for a VAVO training at one of the ROCs in the Netherlands. A decrease of almost 40 percent compared to the 2019-2020 school year, when 15.558 students opted for a VAVO education.

Figures from the MBO council, the representative of the school boards, show this. On a VAVO program, (underage) students can obtain a basic qualification if, for example, they have failed the final exam at secondary school. They then take a number of subjects again to obtain a diploma or partial certificate at the levels VMBO-TL, HAVO or VWO. Prospective students with a 'wrong course package' can also take extra courses that are necessary for their higher professional education, for example.

Corona exam

The decrease is mainly due to the percentage of secondary school students that dropped last year, Marije Hulsbosch, spokesman for the MBO Council, said. Due to the adjustments to the final exams in the year 2019-2020 - due to corona - more students were eligible for a diploma, according to her. 'These young people could therefore immediately start further education.' The council also sees a decline in the number of MBO and HBO students who register for VAVO on average, because schools and institutions are less likely to issue binding negative study advice due to corona.

The strongest decline was among VWO students with almost 44 percent fewer registrations this school year compared to a year earlier. Followed by secondary school students from VMBO-tl with a decline of 42,6 percent. Havisten also enrolled a lot less than the 2019-2020 school year.

Kind of education 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
VMBO-tl 2407 2480 2515 2723 2448 2338 1340
Weather 8761 9106 9603 9654 9385 8769 6037
VWO 3718 3936 4134 4297 4367 4451 2524
Total number of registrations 14.886 15.522 16.252 16.674 16.200 15.558 9.901

Source: MBO Council

The cause is the graduation rates at secondary schools in 2020, because they were higher wrote Education minister Arie Slob already in October last year to the Lower House. He deleted the central final exams due to corona and only the school exams counted towards the final diploma. More students ended their secondary school career with a diploma because of this decision: 98,7 percent passed. In 2019 this was a percentage of 92 percent.
Slob explains the higher pass rate because students had more resit opportunities, they were able to practice more specifically for exams because they had a better view of their starting position and had more preparation time.


It is causing a shift in the VAVO intake. Roc De Leijgraaf in Oss, for example, will no longer offer adult education from this school year. “The registrations were already low, but due to the higher success rate in secondary education, the flush was very thin,” says spokesperson Caroline van Veen. “It was no longer profitable to keep the training in Oss going. We properly referred all students to rocs in Den Bosch and Eindhoven. ” Van Veen does not think that her roc will start a VAVO again soon. “That is not to be expected. The teachers who taught at VAVO started working within the ROC. ”

'Due to the higher success rate in secondary education, the flush was very thin'

In Arnhem, at Roc Rijn IJssel, they saw registrations decline, just like in the rest of the country. “We saw 33 percent fewer registrations,” says Wouter Groothedde of the roc. “Normally it is a very stable course with a fixed group of people. Within our roc it is a separate branch of sport, because many secondary teachers work there. This year we will focus on this training. This works because we also receive subsidies for catch-up programs. If we really had half the number of registrations, then something had to be done. For the time being it is not a problem and in the long term we expect those students to return. ”

Social sciences teacher Philip Hoenderdaal Genet of the Amsterdam Joke Smit College speaks of a 35 percent decrease in their student base. “It is fortunate that in our case a large part of the group does not fall under the 'Rutte scheme' (outsourced secondary school students who have failed), but people over 18 who are covered by government funding. I hope that my colleagues with a temporary contract will get a permanent contract, but that is of course quite difficult when you are dealing with a declining student base. ”

The spokesperson for Ster College, part of Summa College, says that it is still a matter of 'coffee grounds to see whether it is a temporary development. "We now think it's related to the number of students who graduated from high school." The Nova College Vavo with locations in Haarlem, Amstelveen and Hoofddorp also makes notification in the annual report of the 'corona exam' and the consequences thereof in the registrations.

New decision

Last week Outgoing Minister Slob announced that he had made a new decision about the final exams. The final exams continue, but students may pass an extra, as long as it is not in a core subject. The influence that this has on VAVO should become clear next school year, several rocs have said.

Read also: 'AOb-members divided on how to continue central exams

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