NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 21:38
“There is no high there is no low, we are equal so act normal” and “Without us you can’t live, you don’t know what you are talking about.” These are excerpts from the song Ode aan de mbo by musician Nigel Sean. With this, Sean, himself a former MBO student, wants to break through the stigma of this group of students. “I hope I can show that MBO students are just as important,” he tells NOS Stories.
And that seems to be working. The TikTok videos in which he shares parts of his song have reached the million views in recent days and thousands of people post mainly positive reactions. For example, someone writes: “This is such a fantastic tribute to people who work really hard” and someone else: “I wish I had seen this sooner”.
The need for attention for this education does not come out of the blue. Research by RIVM and Amsterdam UMC showed last summer that MBO students feel that they are not seen or heard. “We are often seen as the stupid target group that can only do something with its hands,” said an MBO student at the time.
Nigel came up with the idea to make the song after he came across several sketches on social media about MBO students who are seen as inferior. “Together with a friend, we decided to work on it. MBO matters. There are huge shortages and in some sectors you even earn more than a higher vocational education student could.”
Artist Nigel Sean goes viral with a song about MBO stereotypes
The song gave Ivar Noordhoek, a 19-year-old media management student, a ‘proud feeling’. He also often sees sketches about study types on TikTok. “You have to think of sketches in which a university, a higher professional education and an intermediate vocational education student all three react to, for example, something like a lesson being cancelled. In those films, the secondary vocational education student is always stupid”.
He finds these kinds of videos painful. “It’s probably meant as a joke, but subconsciously it has a stigmatizing effect.” Because of his own experiences, Noordhoek is on the board of JOB, the national student council for MBO students. In this way he tries to commit himself to more acceptance.
But that is difficult, both Nigel and Ivar emphasize, because the prejudices are deeply rooted in society. According to Nigel Sean, the focus is too much on having to grow. “It was instilled in us like this: the higher the level you do, the more you matter in the world. That’s just nonsense and we need to get rid of it. There’s nothing wrong with settling for what you can and earn your living with it.”
Noordhoek: “It actually starts at secondary school, when pre-vocational secondary education is increasingly located at a different location than havo and pre-university education. Then you never actually meet. That has to change.” Sean has a lot of faith in the new generation: “You used to be bullied more quickly. But fortunately young people in 2023 open their mouths much faster.”
Leave a Reply