Yesterday, the House of Representatives debated OCW’s annual report. A long debate that covered many topics. The most basic debate concerned the role of vocational education and training in the education sector. There are many concerns about this in the Chamber.
†Prepare for it now†
“We see that universities are bursting at the seams and that fewer and fewer students are going on to a vocational education,” said Lisa Westerveld of GroenLinks. “We have said to the ministry before: Prepare for it now. Take a good look at how we ensure that we can counteract the enormous growth in universities and the decline in other sectors. ”
Dijkgraaf emphasized in his reply that he primarily wants to use his ministry to present the vocational education. “I like to talk about a variety of courses; MBO, HBO and WO each have their own characteristics and each has their own degree of expertise. “But this idea is not yet widespread in society,” said Dijkgraaf.
Like Westerveld, the Minister is concerned about the decline in higher vocational education. “If we look at where the demand is in society, it requires a lot of technology, care and education. Then we really need the MBO and HBO students. ”
A full-fledged professional
The additional investment of this cabinet in practical research of 100 million euros can contribute to the quality boost and attractiveness of vocational education, the Minister expects. “We will also invest in higher vocational education. We will definitely use this practice-oriented research to show that you can also develop into a full-fledged professional there. ”
The minister also stressed that he has set aside 90 million euros to tackle the shrinkage in vocational education. According to Dijkgraaf, people in the region know better than anyone else where the demand for highly educated professionals is greatest.
One of the biggest problems of the coming years
Lisa Westerveld from GroenLinks agrees with the Minister that the demand for vocational education will only increase in the future. “I do not know the immediate solution either, but it will be one of the biggest problems in the coming years if this trend continues. Both because of the performance pressure that all young people suffer from and because we will soon have a lot of university graduates and far too few professionals. ”
Therefore, according to the Minister, it is important to emphasize that students can also be fully challenged in vocational education. “You can also deliver top performance in MBO and HBO. They’re just of a different kind. Students must be challenged where they belong and in the talents they have. ”
That’s a tough problem
According to the D66 minister, this means that there must be a “better demarcation between university educations and higher vocational educations. People fish in each other’s pond. At the university educations, we have to discuss whether they do a number of things that simply belong really well in the vocational educations. It is a serious problem that has to do with a much larger social phenomenon. ”
According to Dijkgraaf, this has to do with a “drive to keep aiming higher and higher.” In addition, according to the minister, it can be useful to “give a realistic picture of how much you want to earn, how useful you feel on the various courses.”
Van der Woude from VVD was visibly relieved by these words from the minister. “There are a lot of students who go to university who do not really belong there. That is part of what the Minister is saying here now. ”
Companies simply pay university graduates better
Still, according to Van der Woude, it is not so strange that students choose the university. “We can all say that we think vocational education is important, but it is often the case that companies end up paying more for a university education. One cannot blame children and parents for looking at their financial future. If you do not control the capacity and who fits where, you will still have this problem. ”
The Minister has already announced that there will be a future study for higher education. “It also has to do with financing, with financial incentives. Because if we want a better demarcation, then we really need to look more structurally at how the system works. It is also important for higher education to have the difficult conversation about it. We are now doing this about wastage, but we need to have a more in-depth discussion. ”