Changes in education since 2011

Since January 1st, 2011 schools are financed directly by the Ministry of Education in the Netherlands and Caribbean Netherlands Education Laws have been in effect since August 1st, 2011. The changes in content are implemented gradually in education. In order to achieve this, schools are collaborating with the Ministry of Education and with the advanced post of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap, hereinafter OCW) in the Caribbean Netherlands: RCN/OCW.

A selection from the changes in education on the islands since 2011:

  • Education is compulsory from the age of 4 to the age of 16.
  • After the age of 16, students are still required to obtain an mbo 2 (senior secondary vocational education) or havo (senior general secondary education) diploma until they turn 18 (basic qualification). After that they are required to work, learn or to combine both.
  • Basic education is now called Primary Education (PE)
  • English has been the language of instruction in St. Eustatius since 2014, as in Saba. Both islands are now using the English language CXC education system 
  • The Dutch language has the status of “Strong Foreign Language” in St. Eustatius and Saba
  • Since 2011, secondary vocational education is called senior secondary vocational education (mbo).
  • There are institutions in all three islands, which provide social opportunity pathways, in accordance with the Social Opportunity Pathways for the Young Act (Wet Sociale Kanstrajecten Jongeren, SKJ).
  • Expertise Centres Education Care (Expertisecentra Onderwijszorg, EOZ) have been established in all three islands to counsel children who need extra attention.
  • The schools fall under the supervision of the Dutch Inspectorate of Education.
  • The summer holidays are set by the OCW.
  • Efforts are being made between 2012 and 2017 to improve educational housing. This is realised in conformity with the educational buildings plans, which have been drawn up by the Public Entities and the OCW.

Each island has set up an island educational meeting (Educational Platform). During this meeting, school boards, school leaders, island commissioners and RCN discuss the educational ambitions. And how to fulfil these ambitions.