The schools in the Dutch Caribbean will receive extra money the coming four years to recruit teachers. It regards a total amount of almost six million dollar (4,5 million euro) up to and including 2015. This was decided by Minister van Bijsterveldt and State Secretary Zijlstra of Education, Culture and Science (OCW).
This money from the budget of Zijlstra is intended to make it more attractive to work in the Dutch Caribbean. Previously the Ministry of Education, Culture ad Science (OCW) had already made available 1.3 million dollar structurally available to improve the salaries of teachers in the Dutch Caribbean. The extra money is intended for schools in primary education and schools for secondary education and tertiary vocational education (mbo).
Minister van Bijsterveldt was confronted during her visit in 2011 to Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba with concerns about teacher’s salaries and the problems schools face with recruiting teachers. The schools in the Dutch Caribbean are faced with relatively many vacancies, among others the huge turnover of teachers. The current offer of qualified teachers in the local labor market is not sufficient to fill all the vacancies.
According to Minister van Bijsterveldt and Zijlstra this is problematic because good education requires sufficient and qualitatively good teachers “Teachers are crucial for quality in education and indispensible for the improvement there of. There must also be a real compensation in return”. Thus we want to make it more attractive for teachers to become teachers in the Dutch Caribbean”, according to the Minister and the State Secretary.
Possibilities for schools
The point of departure is that schools must first search for qualified teachers in the Dutch Caribbean and the Caribbean region. The schools have however indicated that they often do not succeed. When schools attempt to (temporarily) recruit teachers from the European Netherlands, these teachers often shy away because of the lower salaries than in the European Netherlands and the extra costs they often have to make. The teachers have to relocate and have to deal with new labor conditions. Schools can use the extra money that is now temporarily available to thereby compensate teachers. Hereby this could include the bridging of the pension and AOW gap, and an improvement in the compensation for travel and relocation costs. The schools can however use the temporary extra resources now becoming available at their own discretion to compensate teachers. If there is a need, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) can assist schools with the practical interpretation.
Press release RCN, March 24, 2012