Caribbean Netherlands educational professionals from the Expertise Centers for Education Care, the secondary schools and representatives of the Caribbean Netherlands Department of the Ministry of OCW (Education, Culture and Science) and the Dutch Inspectorate of Education recently met on Bonaire for the PrO (Praktijkonderwijs or Practical Education) conference. The purpose of this conference was to exchange knowledge and best practices regarding PrO education and to make arrangements for future collaboration between the Caribbean Netherlands institutions involved in this education stream.
The PrO stream offers an educational programme with an emphasis on practical and hands-on subjects besides some basic academic subjects. PrO students generally range between 12 and 18 years of age. It concerns special education students who may have a learning disability, a relatively low IQ and/or special learning needs.
This PrO Conference has set the stage for collaboration between the Expertise Centers for Education Care and the schools that offer PrO education.
Consequently it was suggested to establish a PrO commission to tackle the bottlenecks and to look into the way forward. Two major challenges to overcome in the near future are the urgent need to hire sufficient fully qualified and competent staff for the teaching of practical skills and changing the negative perception of PrO Education in the communities of the Caribbean Netherlands. A follow-up conference in 2017 was suggested.
The participants included representatives from respectively the Saba Comprehensive School, Scholengemeenschap Bonaire (SGB), the Gwendoline van Putten School (St. Eustatius), the Dutch Inspectorate of Education and RCN/OCW.
The participants also visited the PrO-department of the SGB where PrO students from the Hospitality Department catered for their lunch.
Press release RCN.