Information for applicants

Everyone in the Caribbean Netherlands has the right to set up a school with education based on their own faith and/or beliefs. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) supervises the quality of education and funds public and special education in CN. The Education Executive Agency (DUO) takes care of the funding of the new school. There are certain terms and conditions that apply. See the DUO website for more information.

The recently introduced 'More Space for New Schools' act modernises the rules for setting up a new school for primary and secondary education. A more thorough review is performed to determine if there is enough interest in a new school and whether it can offer sufficient quality is performed.

Besides a new school, it is also possible to establish a new branch (dependance) of an existing secondary school.

Registering with the Chamber of Commerce

Only a legal entity can apply to establish a new school, and to create a legal entity you need to visit a notary. Afterwards, that legal entity and its future directors need to register with the Chamber of Commerce, which is a requirement for being able to report your initiative.

Quality of education

Under this new act, the Education Inspectorate assesses beforehand whether a new school meets the conditions, such as the curriculum and how class times have been planned, and so on. They do this based on the quality requirements as laid down in the current Advisory Framework, published on February 1st 2021. Link:

Meetings on the island

As part of your application for setting up a new school, you will be expected to have a number of meetings on the island regarding this new school with the following parties:

  • the island‘s existing school boards;
  • the public entity of the island where you plan on establishing the new school.

Talks with existing boards can help you develop your vision, and mutual consultation with each board can ensure that an existing school can align itself with the needs of parents and students. It may turn out that a new school is no longer necessary. Talks with the public entity may serve to ensure that the facilities will be in place on time.

You are responsible for reaching out to these parties yourself, and the invitations to these meetings should be added to your application documents (see also the 'Procedure for registering and assessing new initiatives' below). If no invitations have been sent out, or have not been added to your application, your application will be rejected.

Measuring public interest

As the party taking the initiative for establishing a new school, you must be able to demonstrate that there is sufficient interest for one. In accordance with the 'More Space for New Schools' act, there is a new method for measuring public interest.

Parents can express their interest in a new initiative by completing and submitting the 'Parent Declaration' form. Your ‘catchment area' is the island where you want to establish the new school.

In some exceptional cases, it may be possible to have the interest assessed through a market survey. For more information, including the conditions for a market survey, click here. De volgende link toevoegen:

The procedure for registering and testing new initiatives

This will come into effect in the Caribbean Netherlands on the 1st of June 2021.

First, you must send out the invitations for the meetings on the island (see above) before the 15th of September of the calendar year in which you are submitting the application. The invitations must be under 1 year old when you submit your application;

  1. You register your initiative by means of the form ‘Registering an Initiative in the Caribbean Netherlands' at the bottom of this page;
  2. You must submit the completed form in person between the 1st of June and the 1st of July at the office of the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland on your island within the designated times. On Bonaire and St. Eustatius, you can hand it in at the OCW office and on Saba at the secretariat of the RCN office in The Bottom. You will find the address details on the contact page of OCW in the Caribbean Netherlands (link naar Via a secure link your form will then be sent to DUO, who will then check it for completeness and publish the initiative in the initiatives overview for the Caribbean Netherlands;
  3. Between the 1st of July and the 15th of October, parents can personally hand in their completed form 'Parent Declaration for the Caribbean Netherlands', including the required attachments, at the office of the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland on their island within the indicated opening hours. Parents must also bring their ID and their child’s ID. The child must reside on the island where you would like to start the new school. This form is also available at the above mentioned RCN offices. The complete procedure that parents have to follow can be found on the page 'Information for parents'. (link naar de pagina voor ouders op website OCW in RCN).
  4. After the 15th of October you will know how many valid declarations of interest there are for your initiative. You can then do the calculation for measuring the interest and attach it to the application. If you wish, you can also request an intermediate score via
  5. Before the 1st of November you submit the final application, by means of the 'Supplement and Submit Initiative for the Caribbean Netherlands' form at the bottom of this page. You hand in the completed form, and all the appendices, at the office of the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland on your island. On Bonaire and St. Eustatius, you can hand it in at the OCW office and on Saba at the secretariat of RCN in The Bottom. You will find the address details on the contact page of OCW in the Caribbean Netherlands (link naar If so requested, the staff of OCW in the Caribbean Netherlands can support you in completing the form;
  6. Your form is then sent to DUO via a secure link. DUO will assess your application for completeness and ensure that the application process continues. An overview of what you need to submit can be found on the page 'Completion and Submission' (link naar: The Education Inspectorate receives the information you provide about the expected quality of the school and will schedule a meeting with you on this matter;
  7. You must also send an original Certificate of Conduct, not older than six months, by (air)mail to DUO before the 1st of November. It is recommended that the declarations be sent by registered mail to the address below:
    Education Executive Agency (DUO)
    Attn. MRvNS
    P.O. Box 30205
    2500 GE The Hague
    The Netherlands
  8. You will receive the minister's decision by e-mail and by (air)mail. DUO and the Inspectorate of Education will then contact you for additional information about funding and the quality of education. More information can be found on the 'Start of the school' page (link toevoegen naar:

When is there sufficient interest?

Click here for information about the foundation norms and how to calculate it. (link toevoegen naar: