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Recent developments in the Netherlands

Even though the Netherlands has one of the highest percentages of adults involved in learning, increasing the participation of adults in education remains on the national and regional agenda. In 2019, the Dutch cabinet, in cooperation with social partners, sectoral training and development funds, educational institutions including VET schools, and other stakeholders passed a new policy programme that aims to strengthen lifelong learning in the country. The main objectives of the new initiative are:

1. to familiarise society with training and learning opportunities that are available, so that individuals become more independent in their educational choices,

2. encourage citizens to engage in learning, promoting an individualised approach and subsidies for everyone,

3. ensure adults’ participation in education by providing support structures and flexible provision in education. 

The government does this by encouraging good support, strengthening the learning culture in small businesses and promoting a flexible educational offer.

In 2018 the departments of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), and Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) collaboratively launched the programme “Tel mee met Taal” (Count along with Language), which has been extended for the year of 2019. The focus of the programme is literacy education for low-educated adults. The programme aims at strengthening cooperation between partners on local and regional levels in order to outreach a bigger public and engage both youth and adults in improving their language, maths and digital skills.

As a follow up, a new strategy for 2020-2024 was presented in the beginning of 2019. The objectives of the new strategy are:

  • to reach more people through a tailor-made approach
  • knowing what works: more insight into quality and effectiveness
  • strengthening collaboration on municipal level

In the following years, the programme will put a stronger emphasis on digital inclusion and digital skills, in addition to language skills.