Monday , March 27 2023

Second Chamber is concerned about education and other issues

The Daily Herald writes that the quality of education on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba is of such serious concern to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament that it has decided to have a meeting with the responsible State Secretary Sander Dekker. Dekker was called to Parliament last week Tuesday to answer questions of Member of Parliament (MP) Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA about the shocking exam results on Bonaire. The recent report of the Dutch Inspectorate of Education in the Caribbean Netherlands, sent to Parliament last week Friday, has only added to those concerns. Then, there was also the decision taken last week that English would become the sole language of instruction on Statia. The crisis between the board and management of the Saba Comprehensive School was another reason for Van Laar to request a general debate with the State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science, which will take place after the summer recess, on October 15, 2014.|
“There are problems on all islands and we need to discuss these with the state secretary,” said Van Laar during a procedural meeting of the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations on Wednesday. The committee agreed to ask State Secretary Dekker to further elaborate on the situation of education in the Caribbean Netherlands and broaden the subject to all three islands in the letter that he has already pledged to send to Parliament in relation to the dramatic exam results in Bonaire prior to the debate.

The Kingdom Relations Committee also approved a proposal of MP André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party to convene a general debate with Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk on September 25, 2014, about the Committee for Financial Supervision’s CFT’s approval of a capital loan to construct a new hospital on Curaçao. The Second Chamber has already debated with Plasterk on the decision of the CFT to approve capital loans for Curaçao and St. Maarten now that the countries have complied with the requirements as stated in the Kingdom Law on Financial Supervision. However, Bosman wants to have another debate specifically on the loan for the new hospital and the role of the CFT and the Second Chamber. A request was made by Roelof van Laar to broaden the topic and discuss the supervision carried out by the CFT and the law on financial supervision.

Van Laar further asked for attention to be placed on human trafficking, in his opinion, a serious problem in the Dutch Caribbean that deserves the full attention of all governments in the Kingdom. Human trafficking originally was to be a topic at the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom IPKO in The Hague early June, but it wasn’t discussed in the end. Van Laar mentioned the recently published Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2014 of the United States State Department, which concluded that the islands of the Dutch Caribbean didn’t comply with all minimum norms to combat human trafficking.
The Dutch Parliament is also awaiting a letter of Dutch Minister of Justice and Safety Ivo Opstelten in response to the adopted motion of Van Laar and colleague Gert Jan Segers of the ChristianUnion on the issue of human trafficking in the Dutch Caribbean. Van Laar said in Tuesday’s meeting that there was sufficient material for a general debate of a written consultation with the minister. It was agreed to again discuss this issue after the minister’s letter had been received.


CBS: Inhabitants of the Caribbean Netherlands usually feel safe
Plasterk unmoved by call for voting rights for foreigners


  1. The statement in this article on Saba and it’s only school, the Saba Comprehensive school, refers to the issues between the school board on one side and the management backed up by the teaching staff, the parents and the students on the other side. After the board’s decision to let go 4 teachers and the principal Mr Hemmie van Xanten who has done a wonderful job in the school. By fostering a warm school atmosphere where everyone regardless their creed or color is welcome, where teachers align and deserve the respect of their students.

    The school has known a significant staff turnover year after year. However this year marked a change because all the teachers were willing to sign up for an additional year and to take up the extra workload of writing a curriculum for their subjects combining the Dutch goals and those of the Caribbean Examinations Council. Capable teachers with experience in teaching, training and expertise in their own field.
    For example the business teacher taught in an American university and had years of practical experience as a businesses counselor.

    Throughout the school year the teachers were officially evaluated twice by their department coordinators and more than once by Marriette Zuijdgeest, a Dutch trainer for educators who is specialized in differentiation. Because the school has students with different backgrounds, native languages (English, spanish, Dutch), strengths and interests this is very important.
    Their teaching skills, in depth subject knowledge, differentiation in the classes, efforts, contact with the students etc. were evaluated positively.

    The Saba Comprehensive School was the only school out of the 3 Dutch Caribbean islands that had a positive report of the Dutch Inspectorate for Education.

    And still…

    the teachers and the principal were fired and 3 additional staff members resigned out of solidarity.

    Where did it go wrong?

    The three board members don’t have a background in education.
    Two board members have children within the school and a third one has a sister teaching in the school with higher aspirations.
    Throughout the entire year only one of the three board members had a meeting with the teachers. Not a collective meeting among professionals but obligated individual meetings.
    The board didn’t follow the advise of the management team on the contract renewals.

    A letter both polite and substantiated was written and signed by 90% of the teachers to the board as a plea to reconsider the made decisions and was ignored.
    A protests of the parents and a petition were ignored.
    A student protest -students fighting for their teachers you have to admit that it is unique- was ignored.
    And the resignation of two teachers and the secretary for the reasons above were ignored.

    It saddens me to see what is happening on Saba, most of all because the students will suffer in this impaired educational environment throughout the upcoming years.

  2. Long Time Non-Belonger

    This is what we are talking about…..SABA WAKE UP!!!!

    Join the meeting this afternoon at 4:30PM (Which by the way is very inconvenient for most working people)…….Come in late to the meeting….. but come and show your support!!!!

    Do something about this….. STAND UP for your RIGHTS!!!!

    Government is not willing to get involved because it is too close to elections. OCW is just the Rubber Stamp for the Board…..and the Netherlands is on ‘Vacation” until October…

    Demand ACTION……Get involved in the Education of Saba’s FUTURE!!!!!

  3. Teacher Gone Home

    SABA …… WAKE UP…. The days of oppression and holding people down just because others have POWER are over.

    Demand ACTION…..

    Local Government refuses to act because it is their own hand picked henchmen and an election is looming next year.

    OCW is nothing more than the Rubber Stamp for the Board because they have hammered into the Boards Head that they have the power and the RIGHT????

    Show up for the meeting at 4:30 today…. If you cannot be on time then come in LATE but be there. This is not just for Parents and Teachers it is for anyone that treasures the education of the Future of Saba….. the Students.