The Daily herald reports today, that St. Eustatius has received a no-go from the Dutch Government to its original request for a formal declaration regarding the status of the American University of Statia Medical School
Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker last week informed the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament that she has not agreed to the original text of the declaration as it was compiled by the Statia Government in June this year.
According to the minister, the drafted text in question created “too much of an impression that the American University of Statia Medical School already has permission to offer medical education.” That, added Bussemaker,
would create the wrong impression that the Medical School already complies with the requirements of the Dutch
Law on Higher Education and Scientifi c Research, the WHW.
She has issued an “adapted declaration” on July 4, 2014 which basically stated that “This letter in no way gives formal recognition to the education that is provided at the School of Medicine or the degree of doctor of medicine.” The minister clarified that a possible recognition could only be given after an institute has followed the required procedure as stated in the WHW law, an inspection and positive advices by both the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation NVAO and the Inspection of Education, and approval of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science.
“Recognition of a medical school based on the WHW is only possible when the procedure described in the law has been completed with a positive result, resulting in a positive decision by the minister,” stated Bussemaker, who added that on March 14 this year she sent a letter to this extent to the Statia Government.
The minister stated in her July 4 letter to the Statia Government that she has understood that the School of Medicine has been established in St. Eustatius. The school wants to educate students to become Doctor of Medicine, she stated.
The Medical School is prepared to allow the Inspection of Education to inspect the facility and to start the recognition procedure as described in the WHW law. The school is aware that as long as no formal recognition has been given, graduates cannot carry out their job as a physician in the Netherlands, the minister stated.
In her letter of last week to the Second Chamber, Bussemaker stated that a medical school is free to establish itself on one of the Dutch Caribbean islands, but only as a private organisation without the possibility to issue diplomas that are recognised by the Dutch Government. To enter the Dutch system of higher education, the organisation needs to become a legal entity for higher education and this is only possible when the procedure as stated in the WHW law has been completed.
Formal recognition is required in order to be listed in the register of international medical schools in the United States, the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER).
Medical schools in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba had to comply with the WHW law after the islands became Dutch public entities in October 2010. The Medical School in Saba became a legal entity for higher education after a positive decision by the minister. “Other medical schools that started the procedure didn’t manage to comply with the requirements of the law and as such didn’t become a legal entity for higher education,” stated Bussemaker, who stressed that the islands had been regularly and extensively informed of the procedure.
During his visit to the Netherlands last month, St. Eustatius Commissioner Reginald Zaandam urged Dutch Government officials to assist his government in acquiring the necessary permit to start up the Medical School. Zaandam has turned to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK for help.