The Democratic Party D66 in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament wants to see concrete action following a report of the Dutch National Ombudsman about the obstacles that Dutch Caribbean students face in the Netherlands.
D66 Members of Parliament (MPs) Antjc Diertens and Jan Paternotte on Thursday, submitted written questions to Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven and State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops in an effort to get answers about this longstanding issue.
“Which signals of obstacles of students from the Caribbean part of the Kingdom were already known before the investigation, and what steps did you take to mitigate this?” asked the MPs in reference to the many challenges that the National Ombudsman cited in his report in relation to finances, health, education, preparations, information and housing.
“What is your reaction to the observation of the National Ombudsman that the support to students from the Dutch Caribbean is lagging compared to the support that other international students receive?” Diertens and Paternotte asked about the recommendations in the Ombudsman report.
The MPs wanted to know in what manner the universities and schools in the Netherlands prepared students from outside the Netherlands for a life in the Netherlands, whether these information sources and activities were also accessible for Dutch Caribbean students, and whether the schools and universities gave content to the obligation to take the situation and interests of this group of incoming students into account.
Diertens and Paternotte asked why Dutch Caribbean students could not get Dutch health care insurance and care allowance, as a result of which they need to take more expensive, international health care insurance.
As for finding suitable, affordable housing in the Netherlands, the MPs enquired what assistance was available for the Dutch Caribbean students. They also wanted to know how the students could be assisted with the providing of a Citizen Service Number (“Burger service nummer (BSN)”) which is needed for all official transactions in the Netherlands.
Referring to the observations of the Ombudsman about the repayment of Dutch DUO study-financing loans, the MPs asked the minister and state secretary whether they were aware of the obstacles that the Dutch Caribbean students faced. The MPs requested the arrangement of a better, more suitable repayment scheme that took the generally lower salaries and higher costs of living on the islands into account.
Diertens and Paternotte wanted to know what arrangements were in place to facilitate the study of medical science by Dutch Caribbean students, also to prevent shortages of local medical doctors on the islands.
The Daily Herald.