In the Netherlands, you have the right to an education until you are 18 years old. However, there is also a ‘compulsory school attendance’, which means that you are obliged to go to school. As an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker, you will receive the same education as children who were born in the Netherlands. Your guardian will arrange for you to go to school. Depending on where you live, this will be a school nearby or a school for instance on the grounds of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers [COA]. In the Netherlands, you attend primary school until you are 12 years old. Here you will learn for instance how to write and do arithmetic. After primary school, you go to secondary school. There are 3 different types of education after primary – in other words, secondary education:
- pre-vocational secondary education [vmbo (voorbereidend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs)];
- senior general secondary education [havo (hoger algemeen voortgezet onderwijs)];
- pre-university education [vwo (voorbereidend wetenschappelijk onderwijs)].
The type of education which is suitable for you will depend on how well you can learn and what your interests are. All three types of secondary education are completed with a diploma, provided that you pass the final exam. Once you have obtained your diploma, you could continue to study, for instance at a University of Applied Sciences or University. As well as the pre-vocational secondary education, senior general secondary education and pre-university education, there is also vocational training. Vocational training prepares pupils for participation in the labour market through practical training. By means of work placements for instance, pupils learn the skills which they will later need in their profession. Upon completion of the education, they receive a practical training certificate. As long as you are a minor, you have a right to an education in the Netherlands. When you turn 18, even if your application is rejected, you are allowed to complete your education already started in the Netherlands.