CXC education system

English is the language of instruction in education in St. Eustatius and Saba. The Saba Comprehensive School in Saba and the Gwendoline van Putten School in St. Eustatius therefore use the Caribbean English language CXC education system of the Caribbean Examination Council.

The secondary schools concerned are carefully preparing the introduction of this school system on the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands. They are doing this in close collaboration with the CXC Examination Council in Barbados and the (RCN) OCW (Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap; Ministry of Education, Culture and Science). The HAVO (senior general secondary education) and MBO (senior secondary vocational education and training) training programmes are currently being phased out in conformity with the Dutch system.

As of the 2019-2020 academic year they will be replaced by the CVQ programme (for MBO) and the CSEC programme (for HAVO). The final levels of the CXC types of education, including additional modules, correspond with the outflow levels in the Dutch education system.

The following overview shows the different types of education in Saba and St. Eustatius.

The CXC transition overview in Saba and St. Eustatius

The CXC transition overview


CCSLC is the three-year lower secondary education component of the CXC Education Programme. CCSLC stands for Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence. Students make a transition from primary school to the CCSLC programme. The CCSLC programme comprises both “Academic” and vocational education components.  The academic part (CSEC) is similar to the Dutch HAVO/VMBO-T (preparatory secondary vocational education-theoretical pathway) programme. The vocational education part (CVQ) is equivalent to the MBO programme. After completion of the CCSLC programme, students make a transition to either the CVQ or CSEC programme.


CVQ stands for Caribbean Vocational Qualification. This vocational education programme applies a competency-oriented approach to training, assessment and certification. CVQ students are expected to demonstrably meet the standards as set by practitioners, employers and the corporate sector. These standards have been approved by the CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market). The CARICOM is a Caribbean community, comprising 15 Caribbean countries and islands. The CARICOM aims to promote trade and economic relations between its members.


CSEC stands for Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate. CSEC is an “academic” programme. This programme, including additional modules, corresponds with the HAVO programme in the Dutch education system. The CSEC examinations are usually administered after five years of secondary education.


For more information about the CXC programme, please visit the website of CXC.