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  • Teacher shortages are increasing in the Netherlands. The number of employee hours worked in education is rising faster than the population is growing. But the vacancy rate in the education sector is also trending upwards and is high compared with other countries in Europe.
  • Participation in education in the Netherlands is relatively high and the trend is rising. Fewer and fewer youngsters are leaving school prematurely and more and more adults participate in some form of education or training (‘lifelong learning’).
  • Compared with other EU countries, the Netherlands has relatively many people with a high level of education and relatively few with only secondary education. The latter group is decreasing, while the share with higher education is increasing.
  • Specific skill levels vary. Numeracy and digital skills of the Dutch population are among the highest in the EU, but Dutch reading skills put the country near the bottom of the EU ranking.
  • Satisfaction with education opportunities is high in the Netherlands and the medium-term trend is rising.

Dashboard and indicators

SDG 4 Quality education

Resources and opportunities

5.1%

of gross domestic product in 2022

11th

out of 27
in EU
in 2022

Government expenditure on education

21

vacancies per 1,000 jobs on 31 December in 2023

The long-term trend is increasing (decrease well-being)

18th

out of 25
in EU
in 2022

Job vacancy rate in education

44.7

hours worked per capita in 2023

The long-term trend is increasing (increase well-being)

20th

out of 27
in EU
in 2022

Hours worked in education

Use

96.9%

of 4-year-olds in pre-school in 2021

7th

out of 26
in EU
in 2021

Participation in pre-school education

5.6%

of the population aged 18-24 in 2022

The long-term trend is decreasing (increase well-being)

7th

out of 27
in EU
in 2022

Early school leavers

23.0%

of the population aged 25-74 did a course in preceding 4 weeks in 2022

The long-term trend is increasing (increase well-being)

3rd

out of 27
in EU
in 2022

Lifelong learning

Outcomes

37.0%

of the population aged 15-74 with completed secondary education in 2023

The long-term trend is decreasing (decrease well-being)

21st

out of 27
in EU
in 2022

Population with secondary education

36.4%

of the population aged 15-74 have a higher education degree in 2023

The long-term trend is increasing (increase well-being)

7th

out of 27
in EU
in 2022

Higher educated population

493

average PISA-score of 15 year-olds in 2022

2nd

out of 26
in EU
in 2022

Pupil numeracy skills B)

459

average PISA-score of 15 year-olds in 2022

20th

out of 26
in EU
in 2022

Pupil reading skills B)

82.7%

of the population (16-74) have at least basic computer skills in 2023

1st

out of 26
in EU
in 2023

Digital skills B)

Subjective assessment

83.5%

of the population over 18 are satisfied in 2023

The long-term trend is increasing (increase well-being)

14th

out of 27
in EU
in 2017

Satisfaction with learning opportunities


SDG 4 Quality education
Theme Indicator Value Trend Position in EU Position in EU ranking
Resources and opportunities Government expenditure on education 5.1% of gross domestic product in 2022 11th out of 27 in 2022 Middle ranking
Resources and opportunities Job vacancy rate in education 21 vacancies per 1,000 jobs on 31 December in 2023 increasing (decrease well-being) 18th out of 25 in 2022 Low ranking
Resources and opportunities Hours worked in education 44.7 hours worked per capita in 2023 increasing (increase well-being) 20th out of 27 in 2022 Middle ranking
Use Participation in pre-school education 96.9% of 4-year-olds in pre-school in 2021 7th out of 26 in 2021 High ranking
Use Early school leavers 5.6% of the population aged 18-24 in 2022 decreasing (increase well-being) 7th out of 27 in 2022 High ranking
Use Lifelong learning 23.0% of the population aged 25-74 did a course in preceding 4 weeks in 2022 increasing (increase well-being) 3rd out of 27 in 2022 High ranking
Outcomes Population with secondary education 37.0% of the population aged 15-74 with completed secondary education in 2023 decreasing (decrease well-being) 21st out of 27 in 2022 Low ranking
Outcomes Higher educated population 36.4% of the population aged 15-74 have a higher education degree in 2023 increasing (increase well-being) 7th out of 27 in 2022 High ranking
Outcomes Pupil numeracy skills B) 493 average PISA-score of 15 year-olds in 2022 2nd out of 26 in 2022 High ranking
Outcomes Pupil reading skills B) 459 average PISA-score of 15 year-olds in 2022 20th out of 26 in 2022 Low ranking
Outcomes Digital skills B) 82.7% of the population (16-74) have at least basic computer skills in 2023 1st out of 26 in 2023 High ranking
Subjective assessment Satisfaction with learning opportunities 83.5% of the population over 18 are satisfied in 2023 increasing (increase well-being) 14th out of 27 in 2017 Middle ranking

Colour codes and notes to the dashboards in the Monitor of Well-being

According to SDG 4, everyone should have access to a good education. Appropriate and accessible education is important for all age groups and in all stages of life, from nursery school and primary education to vocational and higher education, followed by lifelong learning. Education ensures that the present and the future population have the right skills to perform in a knowledge-intensive environment and to play a full and active role in civil society.

Dutch education policy focuses on guaranteeing and improving the quality of education and creating opportunities for young people through education, training or work. The Dutch government has also put measures in place to promote and stimulate ‘lifelong learning’. In the context of this SDG, education therefore includes initial education and further self-development through education and training courses.

The trends in the dashboard mostly point to stable or increasing well-being. Where sufficient data are available to determine medium-term trends for 2016-2023, they are favourable for five indicators and unfavourable for two.

Resources and opportunities relate to the range and affordability of available education. From the perspective of well-being and the achievement of the SDGs, the rising trend in hours worked in education is favourable. In 2023 this was on average 44.7 hours per capita, up from 40 hours per capita at the start of the trend period in 2016. However, the rising vacancy rate in education indicates increasing teacher shortages. The Netherlands is among the countries with the most vacancies per thousand jobs in the EU.

Use refers to participation in education.

Outcomes concern education attainment levels and specific skill levels.

Subjective assessment refers to how people experience education and their education opportunities. Satisfaction with education opportunities is high: in 2023, 83.5 percent of the adult population in the Netherlands were satisfied, around the same share as in 2022; the medium-term trend is rising. The current labour market tension may also be a factor here, with employers perhaps providing extra training opportunities for their employees.

Source of original article: Statistics Netherlands (CBS) (www.cbs.nl).
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