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Scaring the super-truants

NETHERLANDS. The Dutch ministry of education is taking tough action against so-called "super-truants" at vocational colleges. After eight weeks of absence, students will lose their grants if they cannot provide a reasonable excuse for not attending.

The ministry estimates their are several hundred long-term truants in a total student population of 250,000 in this sector. These truants rarely, if ever, attend college, but still receive their monthly grant which is worth up to Pounds 350.

Truants receive a letter of warning after five weeks absence. "If they then do not show their faces or explain their absence in the next three weeks, their grant is stopped," a spokesman for the grant administration body IBG said.

He added that the measure was already 'frightening' offenders back to college.

If truants decide to resume their studies after being penalised, their grants will be reinstated but payments during their period of truancy will be converted into a loan on which they will be charged interest.

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