The central exams in VMBO, HAVO, VWO and gymnasium in May are canceled due to the corona virus, the Ministry of Education said on Tuesday. The school exams determine whether students obtain their diploma.

"In this time of crisis it is no longer possible to take the central exams, but we guarantee the value of the diplomas by completing the school exams," said Minister Arie Slob (Education) in an explanation of the decision.

The final exams will be held between 7 and 23 May, but since the cabinet tightened up the corona measures on Monday, there has been unrest among teachers and school boards.

Until 1 June, groups of more than three people may not come together, or at least keep a distance of 1.5 meters. That is difficult in a large room with students where the final exams are often held.

Slob calls on schools to do the school exams remotely as much as possible, in line with the stricter corona measures. Schools will have until the beginning of June to complete these exams.

The school exam is a collection of tests and assignments on the superstructure that count towards the final mark. Most school exams have already been completed, the last round is just about to start.

Information about the new pass-success scheme, resits and the possibility of appeal will follow. Slob ensures that students who pass receive a full diploma with which they can do further education. The diplomas are also valid internationally.

"We are currently asking a lot of teachers and students, they want a good preparation for their exams. With this radical decision, there is clarity," said Slob.

"I want to give all students the opportunity to obtain a full diploma and thereby move on to further education without delay in these times of crisis," said the minister.

Employers and employees have already increased the pressure

On Monday evening, the VO council, the association of schools in secondary education, and some teaching unions put pressure on canceling the final exams.

Due to the tightening of the rules, the social partners were concerned about the health risks to pupils and teaching staff if the exams were to continue.

Eugenie Stolk, president of the AOb education union, therefore calls Slob's decision "inevitable" and "sensible". "Preparing for a final exam under these circumstances is no small feat," said Stolk.

The VO Council is also satisfied with the decision. There is now more time to complete the school exams, the organization calls on schools to make use of this.

The coronavirus in short

  • The coronavirus mainly spreads through sneezes and cough drops. The virus can be transmitted directly from person to person or (for a limited time) through surfaces such as door handles.
  • You can considerably reduce the chance of spreading by keeping at least 1.5 meters away from other people.
  • An infected person infects two to three others on average. Precautions are necessary to contain this.
  • The vast majority of patients have mild (flu-like) complaints.
  • Almost all deaths involve the elderly or other vulnerable persons, such as heart, lung or diabetes patients. If everyone complies with the measures, this reduces their risks.
  • Read here what precautions you should take.