Reports about problems facing Saba students in the Netherlands have Labour Party PvdA Members of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Roelof van Laar and Tanja Jadnanansing worried. They are seeking clarity from the ministers in charge. The written questions that Van Laar and Jadnanansing submitted to Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker and her colleague of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Ronald Plasterk, related to the March 26 report of the NTR Caribbean news site headlined “Language barrier obstructs Saba students: the Netherlands was a nightmare.” This article was also published on Saba News. Click here to read it.
In the report, two Saba students, Somalia Levenstone and Sharmina Jones, tell of the hardships that they faced in the Netherlands. Both struggled enormously with the language barrier. They decided to abandon their studies and return to their island. Levenstone and Jones questioned why authorities have made the Netherlands the preferred country of study, while Saba students have very limited Dutch lessons in school.
Members of Parliament (MPs) Van Laar and Jadnanansing asked the ministers whether it was correct that a majority of the students are faced with a dilemma when they go to the Netherlands, and that the limited knowledge of the Dutch language was the main cause for these problems. The MPs questioned whether the additional Dutch lessons offered since August 2013 to students who want to continue their education in the Netherlands would structurally solve this problem. They asked if the ministers were considering additional measures to improve the students’ Dutch language skills.
Van Laar and Jadnanansing further inquired about the possibilities about studying in the US or islands in the region. They wanted to know what the major obstructions were and whether the inventory of bottlenecks to study in the region or the US had been completed. Studying in the US is not an option for many Saba students due to the high cost.
Van Laar and Jadnanansing asked whether it was correct that studying in the Netherlands is cheaper and that the National Government Service Caribbean Netherlands RCN pays 25 per cent of the annual school/university fee.