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Reform Support
© EU

Supporting reforms to improve the quality of education and training systems and ensure equal access to it

Funding Programme
Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP)

Improving the quality and monitoring of basic skills education in the Netherlands

for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science

The European Commission provided support for improving the quality and access to non-formal basic skills education.


The Netherlands has approved a Basic Skills Strategy to increase the basic skills of adult population.

The offer of non-formal courses is rapidly expanding. However, the lack of a quality assurance framework results in unequal quality and effectiveness of the training programmes, depending on the provider. In addition, the collection of data on the uptake of basic skills courses is fragmented, which limits the understanding of VET impact on social inclusion and career development of participants.

Support delivered

The Commission, in cooperation with the OECD, supported the Netherlands over 19 months to:

  • trigger an inclusive debate with relevant national stakeholders on the strengths and weaknesses of the non-formal adult education system;
  • develop indicators to monitor participation in non-formal education courses;
  • design qualitative assessment criteria to be applied to VET provided by private providers and a National framework to ensure equal quality standards across the country.

The recommendations enabled the implementation of the National Basic Skills Strategy.

Expected results

The support from the Commission delivered the following results:

  • a monitoring tool to assess participation in non-formal education across the country
  • a quality assurance framework, harmonising existing qualitative assessment schemes and providing for clear quality standards of non-formal education.

Over long-term, this support has increased the access of low-skilled people to quality training opportunities.