Under the proposed scheme, it becomes a legal obligation for everyone to obtain an educational qualification, before their 18th birthday. In the Dutch educational system there is only one minimum-level qualification, the VMBO Diploma, so it is easy to check if anyone has passed it, or not. Those who fail their exams, or simply drop out of school, have until their 18th birthday to do something about it. Otherwise, they will be sent to a prison camp.
There will be no trial - legally it will be treated as a form of compulsory social service. (The proposal is partly inspired by right-wing nostalgia for conscription, which lasted until the 1990’s). The site of the camp is already known, it is a former army base at Budel, near the Belgian border. It was used by German troops stationed in the Netherlands, and it is empty since NATO redeployments, in 2005. The camp is planned to hold 4000 prisoners: local residents are horrified.
Prisoners will stay in the camp for a relatively short period (apparently several weeks or months). They will then be obliged to go back to school again, and get a diploma anyway. To make this possible, the school leaving age will be raised to 23, for those without a qualification. If they still don’t pass their exams, or if they drop out again, they will be sent back to the boot camp. This cycle will continue, until they either pass their exams, or reach the age of 24. However, there is a another separate proposal to raise the school leaving age to 35 in such cases.
The proposal is typical of the present political climate in the Netherlands. Most of the minority-bashing is directed at the Islamic minorities, above all the Moroccans. However, some is directed at the poor, the unemployed, the disabled, and at in this case at school drop-outs. There was (for instance) a separate proposal, to ban school drop-outs from buying or renting housing. Some of the proposals come to nothing, some become law. For instance, councils can now legally ban poor people from living in large cities, or in designated parts of them.
The boot camp proposal has been welcomed by most political parties. Not coincidentally, there are local elections in March, and it pays to show how tough you are.