Deadline for island’s school renovations to be extended

The legal basis for the ongoing process to renovate school buildings and to build new schools in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba co-funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science OCW will be extended by a few more years, writes The Daily Herald.

Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker sent a law proposal to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Friday to amend three laws relating to education in the Caribbean Netherlands in order to secure a transition provision for the improving of school buildings on the three islands.

Following the approval of a Master Plan in 2012, the OCW Ministry embarked on a mission to get rid of the large backlog in the maintenance of school buildings in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, to bring the buildings to a level that is acceptable in the Netherlands.

School buildings have been renovated and new schools have been constructed. However, the process has not been concluded and there have been delays due to a combination of limited construction capacity on the islands, the small scale and the need to put out the tenders according to European standards.

This means that the entire project will not be concluded before December 31, 2017, as originally planned. As such, the transitional provision needs to be adapted to guarantee the continuation of the project for a few more years, the Minister stated in the explanatory note that accompanied the amendment to the laws.

By extending the transitional provision, the OCW Ministry can continue to co-finance the project, according to the agreements that have been signed with the local governments and the realisation of the plans will not be jeopardised.

The end date for the cofinancing by the OCW Ministry will be set by Royal Decree at a later date, but no later than December 31, 2020. After completion of the project, the situation will return to normal whereby the public entities will become responsible for the school buildings, in principle without the intervention of the OCW Ministry.

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