Voorbereidend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs

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The vmbo (voorbereidend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs, literally, "preparatory middle-level vocational education") education is a school track in the Netherlands. It lasts four years, from the age of twelve to sixteen. It combines vocational training with theoretical education in languages, mathematics, history, arts and sciences. Sixty percent of students nationally are enrolled in vmbo. The vmbo has four different levels, in each a different mix of practical vocational training and theoretical education is combined.

  • Theoretical learning path (Dutch: Theoretische leerweg) is the most theoretical of the four, it prepares for middle management and vocational training in the mbo-level of tertiary education and it is needed to enter havo. It was previously known as "mavo".
  • Mixed learning path (Dutch: Gemengde leerweg) is in between the Theoretical and Middle Management-oriented paths.
  • Middle management-oriented learning path (Dutch: Kaderberoepsgerichte Leerweg) teaches theoretical education and vocational training equally. It prepares for middle management and vocational training in the mbo-level of tertiary education.
  • Basic profession-oriented learning path (Dutch: Basisberoepsgerichte Leerweg) emphasizes vocational training and prepares for the vocational training in the mbo-level of tertiary education.
  • Practical education (Dutch: Praktijkonderwijs) consists out of mainly vocational training. It is meant for pupils who would otherwise not obtain their vmbo-diplomas. After obtaining this diploma pupils can enter the job market without further training.

For all of these levels there is "learning path supporting education" (Dutch: Leerweg Ondersteunend Onderwijs), which is intended for pupils with educational or behavioural problems. These pupils are taught in small classes by specialized teachers.


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