From: Addressing medical absenteeism in pre-vocational secondary students: effectiveness of a public health intervention, using a quasi-experimental design
The Dutch general educational system is structured as follows (following the International Standard Classification of Education ISCED) : at the age of 12, after primary education, students can choose between three tracks of education, each aiming at a different educational level in secondary school. They can go to pre-vocational secondary education (VMBO: ISCED 2), which is the lowest level, takes 4 years and prepares for intermediate vocational education (MBO: ISCED 3C). The second track in Dutch secondary education is senior general secondary education (HAVO), which takes 5 years and prepares for higher vocational education (HBO). The third track is pre-university education (VWO), which takes 6 years and prepares for studies at university level (academic bachelors and masters). Students can arrange their educational pathways in many ways, by going up or down levels. The levels relate to the degree of complexity of the content of the programme. In addition to general education, in the Netherlands there is also ‘special needs education’, in which the content of the educational programmes designed can be adapted to students’ specific needs.