The quality of education in the schools of St. Eustatius is insufficient. The curriculum, class time and the care and guidance in schools must be improved. It has been decided that all schools are now under surveillance to ensure that the problems are properly tackled.
This is contained in a report by the Inspectorate of Education. They have conducted a quality survey in the five schools on St. Eustatius.
The inspection revealed great gaps in the learning performance in the different schools. Especially the Gwendoline van Putten School, the only secondary school on the island, was criticized in the report. In 2011, at this school only 41 percent of students passed secondary vocational education and 64 percent in havo level. These success rates are well below the Dutch average.
The Lynch Plantation Primary School of the Seven Day Adventists performs significantly lower than the Dutch average. The Governor de Graaff school is yet another problem. There is no question of a systematic test taking so that the learning performance cannot be properly estimated. However the data that do exist, do not give a favorable picture. The team estimated the delays relative to the Netherlands to be two to four years.
The curriculum on all Statian schools does not meet the basic quality. Especially on the English-language primary schools the curriculum offered for the basic Dutch language, arithmetic and mathematics, is insufficient.
In the Gwendoline van Putten School the use of new methods still too dependent on the commitment of individual teachers and is insufficient in practical subjects due to shortages in training materials and practice rooms.
Teachers in all school types have indicated an additional problem that the curriculum does not reflect the interests and experiences of the students. This is partly because too many textbooks based on the European context.
The primary schools offer enough teaching time. Missed lessons and truancy are well monitored. However the secondary school Gwendoline van Putten has insufficient teaching time scheduled. With an average of 35 lessons of 45 minutes per week and 39 weeks per year, the school does not meet the required standard of 1040 hours per school year.
The inspection concludes that many lessons are not given. That is due to the inability to appoint teachers in time. Another reason is the absence of teachers without replacements being available. It may be expected from the school, that they anticipate on such issues. Also, the frequent truancy and tardiness of students on this school is considered a major problem.
Conclusions and agreements
Arrangements have been made with all schools to improve the situation. These agreements are recorded in the surveillance plan. It includes directives on when the quality should have reached an acceptable level and how this will be achieved. Also, all schools will require to draft current school plan and send this to the Inspectorate.
It is the first quality investigation since 2010 when the Caribbean schools came under the supervision of the Inspectorate of Education. The inspection executes an annual evaluation over a period of five years (2011-2016) and follows the agreed improvement activities closely. By 2016, the schools must have reached the basic quality requirements in all aspects.
The reports of the individual schools can be downloaded through the links below. Note these are inn Dutch.
- Kwaliteitsonderzoek Gwendoline van Putten school (60kb, pdf)
- Kwaliteitsonderzoek Governor de Graaff school (52kb, pdf)
- Kwaliteitsonderzoek Golden Rock school (54kb, pdf)
- Kwaliteitsonderzoek Bethel Methodist school (53kb. pdf)
- Kwaliteitsonderzoek Lynch Plantation SDA Primary School(53kb, pdf)
Source Caribiana, March 26, 2012