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Post-secondary non-tertiary education


6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.10Post-secondary non-tertiary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Post-secondary non-tertiary education follows on from upper secondary education and leads on to tertiary education. Its aim is to broaden the knowledge of students who have obtained a qualification at ISCED level 3.

Educational programmes at this level meet four main criteria:

• The curriculum content is generally focused on entry to the labour market and is a form of terminal vocational education.

• The curriculum content is designed to broaden – not deepen – the knowledge, skills and competences of students who have successfully completed an ISCED level 3 programme. The content is more specialised but the level is lower than that of tertiary education.

• Completion of an ISCED level 3 programme is an admission requirement for level 4 programmes, but may be lower than the starting level required for programmes at level 5 or above.

• The typical length of these courses varies from six months to two or three years.

In the Dutch education system, the following types of courses fall under ISCED level 4:

• specialist training (MBO level 4), as referred to in the Adult and Vocational Education Act (WEB), and/or 1-year higher professional education (HBO) courses.