Nederland traag kennisland

Nieuws | de redactie
14 juli 2008 | Nederland begint bij de bloei van het onderwijs tot de tragere landen in Europa te horen. Terwijl in de hele Unie deelname en rendement van het onderwijs gestaag toenemen, scoort ons land op sleuteldata duidelijk ondermaats. Bij de integrale verbeteringsscore zijn er drie landen die beneden gemiddeld presteren en bovendien niet vooruit gaan: Frankrijk, België en Nederland.

Bij de verbetering van de deelname van meisjes aan Bèta-tech studies hoort ons land met Oostenrijk tot de ‘low performers’ in Europa in de periode 2000-2008. Duidelijke ‘winnaars’ van de onderwijsverbeteringen zijn landen die zich na hun recente toetreding tot de Unie sterk integreren in de Europese economie. Tsjechië, Polen, Slovenië, Estland en Slowakije springen onder hen er uit. Slovenië en Polen behoren zelfs al tot de kopgroep, die op alle benchmarks bovengemiddeld scoort en daarbij verder vooruit blijft gaan. In die kopgroep zitten ook landen als Finland, Denemarken, Zweden en het UK.

Op alle belangrijke criteria is binnen Europa vooruitgang merkbaar, met een uitzondering. Bij het aantal jongeren dat zeer zwak is in leesvaardigheid, is geen daling met 20 % bereikt, maar is een stijging met 10 % aan de orde. Op de andere criteria is de toename gestaag, maar niet voldoende om de ambities voor 2010 te realiseren.  

De samenvatting van het nieuwste overzicht van de onderwijsprestaties in Europa leest u hier onder. Het volledige rapport van de Europese Commissie vindt u hier.  



Education and training in the EU Member States has been improving slowly but steadily since 2000. Overall performance in the European Union is on a par with the best in the world.

Compared to the year 2000, there are now about 3 million more students in higher education and 1 million more graduates per year. There are 13 million more higher education graduates in the EU’s working age population than in 2000. 60% of 5-29 year-olds participate in schools and higher education. This is comparable to the US and 18% higher than in Japan. Almost 108 million people still have low educational attainment – about one third of the labour force. There are still important inequities in European education systems.

Six million young people, one in seven of 18-24 year-olds, achieve only compulsory education or less. 25-64 year-olds are three times more likely to participate in lifelong learning if they have completed at least upper secondary education. One in seven of the four-year-olds are not enrolled in education. Most of these are in high need categories, such as children with migrant background or from families with low socio-economic status. Gender inequalities remain. Boys do less well in reading and have more special education needs. Girls do less well in mathematics and are underrepresented among MST (maths, science, technology) students and graduates. Progress is made in all of the five benchmark areas for 2010 – apart from one, low achievers in reading.

The EU has made good progress in increasing the number of maths, science and technology (MST) graduates – and has already exceeded the benchmark of 15% growth. The EU has made some progress in reducing the number of early school leavers; increasing upper secondary attainment of young people; and in increasing adult participation in lifelong learning. Progress in all these areas, however, has to be faster in order to reach the benchmarks for 2010.

The EU has not managed to bring down the share of low achievers in reading. Instead of a 20% decrease, the benchmark set for 2010, results have deteriorated since 2000 and the share of low achievers in the EU has increased by more than 10%. The report highlights individual Member States’ performances and their progress in relation to each of the five benchmark indicators, identifying which countries are catching up or falling behind, losing momentum or moving further ahead compared to the others. All countries have relative strengths and weaknesses across the benchmark areas and there are significant divergences between Member States and fields.

Nine countries exceed the five benchmarks on average and are still progressing: Finland, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland, Slovenia, Norway and Iceland. Three countries, France, the Netherlands and Belgium, have average performance below the benchmarks and have stopped progressing in this respect. Lifelong learning is becoming a reality in Sweden, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway and Iceland, countries which have developed comprehensive and coherent lifelong learning strategies.

1] Low achievers in reading Benchmark: By 2010 the percentage of low achieving 15-year olds in reading literacy in the EU should decrease by at least 20% from 2000 levels.

Trends: In the EU (comparable data available for 18 countries) performance deteriorated from 21.3 % low performers in reading in 2000 to 24.1 % (girls: 17.6%, boys: 30.4%) in 2006.

Top performers: the top EU performer is Finland (4.8%), followed by Ireland (12.1%) and Estonia (13.6%). Cyprus and Malta have not yet participated in the survey.

Low performers: Romania (53.5%), Bulgaria (51.1%)


2] Early school leavers Benchmark: By 2010 a share of early school leavers of no more than 10% should be reached.

Trends: In EU 27 the share of early school leavers (population 18-24) declined from 17.6% in 2000 to 14.8% (females: 12.7%, males: 16.9%) in 2007.

Top performers: the best performers in the EU are the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia (plus probably Slovenia for which recent data are considered unreliable or uncertain).

Low performers: Malta, Portugal.


3] Upper secondary attainment Benchmark: By 2010 at least 85% of 22 year-olds in the EU should have should have completed upper secondary education.

Trends: Since 2000 upper secondary attainment in the EU increased slightly, from 76.6% of people aged 20-24 to 78.1% (females: 80.8%, males: 75.4%) in 2007.

Top performers: the top performers in the EU are the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Low performers: Malta, Portugal


4] Maths, science & technology graduates Benchmark: The total number of MST graduates in the EU should increase by at least 15%, gender imbalance should decrease.

Trends: The number of MST graduates increased by 29% since 2000 and the female share from 30.7% to 31.6% in 2006.

Top performers: Growth since 2000: Poland; Gender balance: Estonia; MST graduates per 1,000 population 20-29: Ireland.

Low performers: Growth since 2000: Belgium, Slovenia; Gender balance: Austria, Netherlands; MST graduates per 1,000 population 20-29: Cyprus, Malta


5] Participation of adults in lifelong learning Benchmark: The EU average level of participation in lifelong learning should at least reach 12.5% of the working age population (25-64 age group).

Trends: On an EU level participation increased from 7.1% in 2000 to 9.7% (females: 10.6%, males: 8.8%) in 2007 (partly a result of breaks in time series around 2003).

Top performers: the best performer in the EU is Sweden (2006 data), followed by Denmark and the UK.

Low performers: Bulgaria, Romania








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