Islands more involved in new Education Agenda

Stakeholders in the educational sector and the governments of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will be actively involved in the drafting of the new Caribbean Netherlands Education Agenda 2016-2020, which will be established later this year.

Dutch Minister Jet Bussemaker and State Secretary Sander Dekker, both of Education, Culture and Science, stated this in a letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Monday, in relation to the fi nal report of the external evaluation of the 2011-2016 Caribbean Netherlands Education Agenda.

One of the points of attention in the evaluation report, drafted by the Ecorys Bureau, was to involve the local stakeholders for the new Education Agenda and to take the local context and wishes more into consideration.

“We agree with the researchers that this involvement contributes to the basis for the new Education Agenda, that is why we will ensure that the realisation of the new Education Agenda, even more than in 2011, will be a joint process from the start,” stated Bussemaker and Dekker.

The Department of Education, Culture and Science OCW at the Caribbean Netherlands National Government Service RCN has already organised two meetings on an island level in which parties looked back at the execution of the current Education Agenda and discussed the priorities for the next four years.

Themes such as the care structure for pupils/students, the strengthening on management/school board level, and the further improvement of the quality and education results were discussed with the local stakeholders during those meetings. This process of the joint designing of the new Education Agenda will be continued in the coming months.

The most important conclusion of the 2011-2016 evaluation was that major results have been booked in the area of education within a very short period, since Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba became Dutch public entities in 2010.

The improvements were refl ected in the fact that now all 12 primary schools on the three islands and one secondary school, the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS), have achieved the basic quality standard.

The researchers found that the biggest improvements had been achieved at the primary school level. “However, this doesn’t mean that no improvements were achieved in other educational sectors. To the contrary: (major) improvements have been realised in the secondary education and the middle vocational education compared to the baseline assessment,” stated Bussemaker and Dekker.

The researchers concluded that all involved parties have worked very hard in the past fi ve years to achieve these results. “We see this conclusion as a compliment for all those who give their heart and soul for the pupils in the Caribbean Netherlands,” stated Bussemaker and Dekker.

According to the researchers, the current Education Agenda has shown the residents of the islands that the OCW Ministry takes the improvement of the quality of education seriously. The Education Agenda has given a clear direction of the educational policy and has provided a dot on the horizon towards which the parties continue to work.

At the same time, it was concluded that there was still much work to be done. “The evaluation shows that the improvement of education in the Caribbean Netherlands takes a lot of effort and a long breath,” stated the Minister and State Secretary.

The researchers concluded that some ambitions were formulated too ambitiously in 2011. In addition, the achieved results are fragile and the improvements have to be well-secured within the education institutions. Therefore, the researchers recommended to continue the policy. It was also advised to select a limited number of priorities, and to take the differences in context between the islands into consideration.

The Daily Herald.

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