Saturday , December 2 2023

Dekker lauds Saba and Statia for cooperation in education

The Daily Herald reports today that Statia and Saba have shown that they are willing to cooperate to improve education on their island and to solve the problems at their secondary schools. These islands will receive additional funds. Bonaire on the other hand is not cooperating and has been warned that it might face financial sanctions.

St. Eustatius and Saba are making use of the assistance offered by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science
OCW and things are gradually improving on the islands, said State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science Sander Dekker in a general debate with the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Wednesday.

State Secretary Sander Dekker (second from left) with Members of the Second Chamber Paul van Meenen of D66 (left), Chairman of the Kingdom Relations Committee Jeroen Recourt (second from right) and Roelof van Laar, both of PvdA. (Suzanne Koelega photo)
State Secretary Sander Dekker (second from left) with Members of the Second Chamber
Paul van Meenen of D66 (left), Chairman of the Kingdom Relations Committee Jeroen
Recourt (second from right) and Roelof van Laar, both of PvdA. (Suzanne Koelega photo)

The two islands are making use of the various coaches that have been made available, and they are solving the issues with management and the board of the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) and the Gwendoline van Putten School. “Saba and St. Eustatius are constructively cooperating to get things moving,” said Dekker. The Dutch Inspectorate of Education is currently visiting the Caribbean Netherlands.

St. Eustatius and Saba have also complied with the request to draft a plan for special care students and are receiving additional funds to carry out this plan, said Dekker. US $385,000 has been made available for St. Eustatius, and US $330,000 for Saba. Bonaire has not drafted such a plan and therefore has not received additional funds for this group of students.

Dekker said he was worried about Bonaire, which so far has refused to make use of the special coaches to improve the quality of management and boards of the local secondary SGB school. These coaches are very experienced in upgrading the management of schools that are in trouble, but Bonaire is not making use of them, said Dekker.

Bonaire’s attitude may very well be punished through financial sanctions, warned the State Secretary. “When we send special people to help out, they have to make use of them. I hope that we will not have to resort to this drastic measure because financial cutbacks can result in a quick deterioration at the school. Doing nothing however, is not an option. “We will not be hijacked by a bad school board. I’d rather take harsh measures than to let the situation continue. This is sad for the students because they will be the victims,” he said.

Dekker said he totally shared the concerns of the Members of the Second Chamber André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party, Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA and Paul van Meenen of the Democratic Party D66 about the fragile quality of the school boards on the three islands.

Van Laar said he was very concerned about the quarrels between the school boards, management and teachers, with dissatisfied and worried students and parents as a result. “This situation has been ongoing for more than a year and needs an urgent solution.” Van Laar suggested establishing a task force for secondary education under the
auspices of the Ministry of OCW, which can serve as a sort of supervisory body and intervene in conflicts.

Dekker said he too was concerned about the quality of the school boards and the level at the secondary schools. He said that in St. Eustatius the Gwendoline van Putten School had taken steps to improve things after receiving a highly critical report, but he added, “The improvements are vulnerable.”

He noted that the SCS in Saba has had a very turbulent period, but that things are getting better. He said he would have the Inspectorate of Education keep a close watch on these two schools. The state secretary announced during Wednesday’s meeting that he has made an additional 12.7 million euros available for the three islands combined over the next four years to improve secondary education. An extra 150,000 euros will be spent on coaches for secondary education on the islands and 400,000 euros for basic education coaches.

Big improvements have been realised at the primary schools on the islands. Both the State Secretary and the Members of Parliament complimented everyone working at the schools for their hard work and dedication to bring up primary education to a basic quality level. Dekker announced that during its yearly quality assessment last week, the Inspectorate of Education ascertained that the Golden Rock school in St. Eustatius had reached the basic quality level of education.

The Inspectorate has repeatedly ascertained that education staff on the islands are working hard on the realisation of the quality improvements points that were laid down by the schools and the Ministry of OCW in the Education Agenda Caribbean Netherlands in March 2011.

No tax relief for Saba hotels
Training for CN Firefighters on Saba


  1. Rene Caderius van Veen

    Good news!

  2. Good that they finally recognize that the problem on all islands seem to stem from the board. This whole system need to be changed or else we fall back again into the same viper trap.
    (shortened by editor)

  3. From this article it is clear that The Netherlands are in charge with secondary education. They clearly state that if you don’t do it our way, we will punish you financially.
    I am happy that they stepped in and concluded already that the board of SCS was wrong and did not function. Their decision from April is still having effects on the education today. Teachers that did not show up after the October holiday and still no substitute for the Dutch teacher, who I understand resigned from the school.
    If the director is indeed qualified and experienced i expect an immediate solution for these problems since it affects all Form 5 examination students. They haven’t had Dutch for a long time now.
    Mr. Director can you be transparent and explain us what your action will be in this?

  4. Another job well done by the previous school board. They should be ashamed of theyself. My child missing five teachers this week and this happen back when school started also. I feels for them other teachers who have to do more work and teach these classes on top of what they normally do. I knows the upper forms have not had any Dutch teacher for over six weeks now as Teacher Nadine off ill yet nobody to replace her yet? I dont know what this new Director be doing but from what I see its one wrong step after another. The kids say the school atmosphere not the same this year and for the worse and I sees it on the teachers who working there who looks tired. This never the case last year. Commissioner Johnson need to do something quick if he want to win this election. Why sacrifice his job because them three made wrong and spiteful decisions for the school and now are kids suffer. Step up Commissioner and fix this. It not too late for right to correct wrong.

  5. The developments at SCS are continuing. The present care coordinator/guidance councilor has now a part time colleague who will help her with the guidance lessons in school. A very well educated young person who has no experience in guiding students, especially those at SCS who are his friends.
    Tell me Mr. Director is the current guidance councilor not able to do this herself due to her unqualified and inexperienced past?
    It is just crazy what is happening there in school, not for this young person who I am happy he can get experience, but does the school benefit from this and above all why has this job not been publicized so that others could apply for this as well? What has the labor department to say about this illegal appointment?
    Mr. Director I also asked you to explain to us parents what you are doing on the missing hours created by all these teachers who are absent and did not return to school after the break? Dutch, Principals of Business and Accounts and Social studies are the classes our students miss on a daily basis. Please take your priorities in school seriously and solve these problems first instead of helping your care coordinator with extra support.

  6. My God it again go from bad to worse. My friends child was at home crying the other day past because of this guidence teacher. Maybe its good that she be replaced however not by someone unqualified also. Look what that board has done to our little school that was doing so well. This is unacceptable and this director man don’t seem to know his head from his toe. How is they going to pass Dutch this year with Miss Granger gone so long and no replacement. I hears they just watching Dutch movies in class. What kind of teaching is that? Commissioner Johnson need to do something about they and fix that school or else he be out of a job come next year. We parents not going to forget this and this issue will not die until right correct wrong.