Subsidised MBO courses on Bonaire are also open to Saba students and adults for further training or career. The economic damage due to the corona crisis is considerable. Many people have lost their jobs, are only working part-time or are looking for new possibilities to move ahead. In these times, for students who are now concluding their secondary education and who are ready for the next step, it can be less attractive to move to the other side of the ocean to continue studying. Last January Minister Slob (Primary and Secondary Education & Media) and Commissioner Nina den Heyer signed an education covenant in which, among other things, agreements were made about subsidised MBO (Secondary Vocational Education) courses as well as new buildings to be built for the MBO section of SGB. This way, people from the region can develop further in a highly professional learning environment.
The Ministry of OCW invests in vocational education on the islands. This education is meant for students from Bonaire and also for people on the other islands who have sufficient command of Dutch. This concerns, for example, students who are now transferring from secondary school to MBO, people who previously discontinued their studies, people who work (part-time) or who are actually unemployed due to the crisis. They can select an MBO course that suits them best, from numerous administrative, technical, and service-providing courses.
Most courses offer two learning routes: ‘Beroeps Begeleidende Leerweg’ (BBL) and ‘Beroepsopleidende Leerweg’ (BOL). BBL implies that the student, aside from learning, also spends a considerable part of the time working in the field. BOL implies that the student spends most of their time on theory and at a later stage follows an internship to gain practical experience.
The courses of MBO Bonaire are seamlessly in line with the business community. A good example is the ICT course where students in the BBL learning route, in addition to their training, also gain practical experience at the SSO Department of RCN. Other courses also offer BBL learning routes where experience can be gained with employers on the island. Aside from the fact that the students can immediately create a link between theory and practice and can gain experience, these businesses can receive wage cost subsidies for the students who learn and work with them.
The OCW Caribbean Team calls on interested persons on Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius, Aruba, Curacao, and St. Maarten not to hesitate but to take advantage of the opportunity to follow courses that suit them well. This way, they can further improve their knowledge and become more broadly employable in the future.