Rotterdam alderman Hugo de Jonge (Christian Democrat) wants to extend compulsory education to the age of 23 or graduation, whichever comes first.
In a letter to Education Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt, the Rotterdam alderman writes that he would like to launch a pilot in a number of districts in the south of the port city. His move has been prompted by the failure of a raft of measures introduced earlier to substantially reduce drop-out rates.
In his letter, the alderman argues for a different approach: “If no possibility is created to enforce an obligation to graduate for over-18s, the effects on the reduction of the figures will remain limited.” At present, young people are not allowed to leave school without a school diploma before reaching the age of 18. Once they turn 18 there is no obligation to continue their education.
Mr De Jonge wants to launch a pilot in the city’s southern districts because they form part of the government’s ‘jump in quality’ programme intended to improve the quality of life there.
In the past academic year, nearly 80 percent of those who left school without a diploma were over 18. ”The current objective is to reduce the number of drop–outs to 25,000 nationwide. We will have to take substantial additional measures to meet this objective. The reduction of the number of drop outs in this age group has been disappointingly low: 1.1 percent among the 18-year olds and 4.2 percent among 19-year olds. Whereas we have seen reductions of 37 and 47 percent among 16 and 17 year olds.’’
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide