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2.3 'Reduction of the adult illiteracy rate, especially the disparity between male and female illiteracy rates' and 'Expansion of basic education and training in other essential skills required by youth and adults.'Policy with regards to adult education.

Private initiative has taken over the market, due to the fact that the island government has assumed an attitude of expectation over a long period of time. Even though adult education activities did take place, it was continuously done on an ad hoc basis.

The following can be identified as basic learning needs:

  1. Total personal initiatives and general development
  2. Continuing Education
  3. Forms of courses for staff personnel and members of organizations
  4. Parenthood courses
  5. Courses for immigrants to promote integration into the community

The various target groups are, among others: members of organizations, parents, the unemployed, the illiterates, and immigrants.

An important objective is to stimulate the synchronization in the field by means of structural policies. This will require less implementation work, and more policy work. A reorganization process has been started in order to help make this a reality.

The ‘Stichting Promoshon di Alfabetisashon na Antia’ (Pro Alfa Foundation) is involved with adult education since 1989 in both Curaçao and Bonaire. The target group is young adults between the ages of 15 and 40.

The main goal of this foundation is:

  1. The initiation of literacy activities in order to teach applicants to read (better) in order that they can continue to develop via literature and thereby function more effectively in society.
  2. To make the participants to the literacy courses independent by motivating them to participate in those courses that will later open possibilities to lower vocational training thereby increasing employment possibilities.

The activities of the Pro Alfa Foundation know four tracts:

a. Literacy: offering required basic skills in order to provide the group of young adults who have dropped out of school an opportunity to successfully participate in vocational training.

  1. Adult education: providing adults with the knowledge and skills necessary to function socially and personally;
  2. Reading: offering guidance to children with reading problems. Areas that will be worked on are accuracy, quality, tempo, comprehension, recitation, and motivation.
  1. Reading activities for dropouts: emphasis will be placed on the broadening of their knowledge concentrated on a few technical skills like, gardening, carpentry, mechanics, cook, tailor aid, and personal hygiene.

Besides Pro Alfa, the Fundashon Formashon pa Mayan (Foundation for Education for Tomorrow, FORMA) is also involved in this area in Bonaire, since 1993. The goal of FORMA is to promote education in general and strives to accomplish this through providing and promoting courses and training. The courses (21 in total) consist of three categories, namely, general, tourism, and vocational. Age of the participants vary between 18 and 60. FORMA’s principal goal is to finally achieve a apprenticeship system.

FORMA has, in addition to contacts with the central government, Sede Antia foundation, and the Prins Bernhard foundation, established collaboration with FEFFIK (Fundashon pa Edukashon I Formashon di Fishi I Kapasitashon - Foundation for vocational education) situated in Curaçao. FEFFIK is an educational organization for non-formal vocational education. Three partners are represented in the FEFFIK board, namely, the government, the private sector, and the union.

Objectives of FEFFIK are:

FEFFIK’s main activities remain in the area of apprenticeship and the providing of education for the less fortunate.

Considering the courses for the less fortunate youth, FEFFIK has decided to strengthen the various departments and to concentrate on the less fortunate youth group. The programs offered to these youth have low entry requirements that help prepare for the more difficult programs.

The department Speransa pa Desempleado (Hope for the unemployed) provides adult education programs after having spoken to the individual (s). It appears that a literacy education program could precede this.

This concerns the learning package: language, mathematics, social orientation, and social skills directed to the youth that can already read and write but that have not completed elementary education. This provides the opportunity to still flow through to a short vocational education training. Upon completion they can flow into an apprenticeship.

The foundation has nine departments: Curaçao Hotel and Tourism Training Center, International Advanced Automotive Training Center, FEFFIK’s Computer Training Center, Management for Human Development Center, Construction Education Center, Electronics Center, Metal Center, Hope for the Unemployed Center, and FEFFIK Institute for Creative Education.

For all the named departments FEFFIK has collaboration agreements with the national educational organizations in Holland in order to guarantee the quality of the training.

Females (95%) mainly attend the hotel and catering department; males (90%) mainly attend the rest of the departments. The average student age is between 18 and 20.

Another well-known organization in this area is the Mangusá foundation. This foundation concentrates on the target group between the ages of 16 and 60. The objectives of this foundation are:

Literacy education courses and development courses are offered in order to help achieve these goals

Youth policy

In order to implement an integral youth policy and guarantee effective coordination, the Central Government has established a youth affairs section at the Department of Education. A decision was made in 1998 to transform this section into an autonomous body directly under the Ministry of Education. This section falls under the Task Force Antilliaanse Jongeren (Task Force Antillean Youth).

The targeted group is the youth from 0 through 23 years. It deals with both the youth that can find their own way in the society, as the youth at risk of quitting school or are already dropouts.

Integral youth policy assumes active involvement of all actors at its implementation. This means that the actors will have to be involved with the establishment of objectives. Different objectives will be established per island.

The manner in which the general and specific objectives will contribute to the solution of dropouts and the segregation of some of the youth needs to be determined at the outset of the objectives. In Curacao the objectives of the youth policy needs to be aimed at prevention of dropouts, youth unemployment, unhealthy and unsafe environment in the neighborhoods, and crime.

In Bonaire priority will be placed on prevention of dropouts, a better connection between school and the labor market, and teenage pregnancy.

The objectives in St. Maarten will concentrate on youth unemployment, improvement of the link between school and labor market, the entrance of children of "illegals" to education and health care.

Educational support will be the priority in both St. Eustatius and Saba.

2.4 Increased acquisition by individuals and families of the knowledge, skills, and values required for better living, made available through all educational channels

From the side of Government various goals have been defined and various activities have been developed, spread over various care areas. So the government is also interested in the undertaking of ‘parent education’ activities. The project "Life Style" was introduced for the youth in 1997/1998 for the first two years of secondary education in Bonaire. The program is named ‘Lions-quest Skills for Adolescence’. This program offers a comprehensive approach to improving the health and well being of young adolescents through a multifaceted school-based program and extensive parent and community involvement. The goal is to develop positive social skills in the youth like self-discipline, responsibility, decision making, and getting along with others; in addition a strong commitment to their families, schools, positive peers, and communities. The Stichting Bonairiaanse Jeugdzorg (Foundation Youth Care Bonaire) coordinates this project. It was evaluated in school year 1997/1998.

Two evaluations were made, namely, October 1997 and June 1998. Goal of the evaluation was to discover how the teachers and the students have experienced the series of lessons. There were 15 classes (287 students) and 12 teachers.

The evaluated aspects were the learning process, the material, and the organization.

As far as the learning process is concerned it could be concluded that the students were motivated and the teachers were supposed to make sure that all the students participated with the lessons. Teamwork could be an answer. However, not all the topics were as interesting for the older group of students (ages 14 – 17).

With regards to the material, language was a problem for specific groups. The teachers thought that they should have received more material.

Organizationally there were about four points of criticism. The lessons should have been scheduled at the beginning of the day and for two consecutive periods. More teamwork should have been included and adequate location should have been chosen.

The key question of the second evaluation was "how did the project function according to the opinion of the various actors and what were the recommendations." The eleven teachers, 12 student representatives, management, the parents’ committee, and project manager were included.

According to the teachers the training was very educational and appropriate for teachers who have to guide teenagers. The obtained knowledge and experience can be applied to other basic education subjects, like etiquette, hygiene, guidance, and philosophy of life. These subjects have interface with the ‘youth lifestyle project’.

Some critical marginal notes were lack of material, inadequate location, insufficient coordination, little feedback, and the language problem (English).

Management voted unanimously for the continuation of this project. They also recognize the interface with basic education. In spite of the scarce resources they feel that the project was successful.

The lessons were nice and interesting for the students because they were interacting with each other and could express their opinion. During these lessons they were involved in a different way. Most students felt that the project should continue.

According to the parents’ committee the project was not popular among the parents of the students involved.

The project manager noted that a budget for an order was never received.

The recently introduced basic education wishes to give the youth general development in order to achieve a meaningful functioning in the community, and establish a basis for further personal development. In other words, societal potential must be increased. This means that the youth need to posses specific skills, like research, defending one’s point of view, computer knowledge, teamwork ability, and application abilities.

Continuing work will be done in the districts and neighborhoods especially for the youth, in under privileged situations. Various solutions are being experimented with in order to achieve improved social climate in the neighborhoods, and strengthen mutual support to the parents. The national pilot projects will be initiated and promoted in cooperation with all islands concerned. These projects are for the betterment of the situation of the youth and their parents.

Action points are also formulated in the sport area. High priority will be given to sport in the integral youth policy. The Antilliaanse Sportfederaties (Antillean Sport Federations) will be stimulated to pay special attention to the youth and female target groups.

3. EFA decision-making and management

The Minister of Education supported by the Department of Education decides on Major EFA policy matters. The islands are charged with the implementation of the policy. Where necessary, the islands are asked for advice with regards to EFA decisions. In this case, the Department of Education is the coordinating organization for EFA activities.

The "EFA Mechanism" consists of the Nationale Overlegorgaan Onderwijs Nederlandse Antillen (N.O.O.N.A.) National consultation organization for Education in the Netherlands Antilles) and the Jeugd Overlegorgaan Nederlandse Antillen (J.O.N.A. Youth consultation organization Netherlands Antilles).

The reason for establishing N.O.O.N.A. was the interest and need for an intensive collaboration between the central government, namely, the minister of education and culture and the island territories, namely, the commissioners of education and culture.

The goal was to improve internal communication in order to stimulate collaboration with regards to educational policy of the five island territories while considering the specific circumstances and development of each island on one hand. And on the other hand stimulate unity and create a team spirit with respect to the educational problems of the Netherlands Antilles.

It is a cooperation in the area of education established in a Cooperation Protocol and elaborated in a Standing Order.

In the areas of education and training N.O.O.N.A.’s job is to:

The N.O.O.N.A. functions according to a structured periodic central consultation in the sense that meetings occur on a quarterly basis. The idea is for the collaboration between central government and the island territories to proceed according to specific procedures. The fact that the responsibilities and authority of the minister and the commissioners are regulated in the Constitution and the E.R.N.A. respectively.

The activities of the N.O.O.N.A are coordinated by a secretary. The secretary is directly answerable to the Minister of Education.

The secretary has the following responsibilities:

The advisors

This group consists of civil servants of the department of education and of the island sectors of education. It consists as follows:

* Departement of education

(Director, Head of the department of eduation, and their substitutes, Head of the department of education in Bonaire, Head of the Department of education windward islands, coordinator educational activities Saba, and other advisors.

* Education sector in Bonaire

(Head S.E.K. or his substitute, and other advisors)

Education Sector of Curacao (head K.E.Z. and Head education and education support, other advisors).

* Education Sector of St. Maarten (Head education and his subsitute, Education Deputy assistant, and other advisors)

* Advisors of Saba’s Deputy

* Advisors of St. Eustatius’s Deputy

The activities that will be implemented by N.O.O.N.A can be done effectively only if supported by an adequate organization structure.

The following method of collaboration/organization structure was chosen:

NATIONAL CONSULTATIVE BODY ON EDUCATION

CHAIRMAN MEMBERS:

Government of the Island Governments of the

Nederlands Antilles Island Territories

Minister of Education Commissioners of Education

Secretary of the Group of Advisors of the

Consultative body on education Minister and Commissioners of Education

At the beginning of the current year February/March an evaluation was made with regards to the functioning on N.O.O.N.A. This evaluation was requested by the Minister of Education. Based on the results of this evaluation the Minister should have received a proposal in the form of an advise.

The goal of this evaluation was to achieve a better, stronger, and optimal functioning consultative body. This means that mechanisms must be built and methods must be formulated within the responsibilities of the central government and the island territories which will guarantee collaboration resulting in a positive development of education in the Netherlands Antilles.

As stated in the governmental program the government wants to achieve better relation between the island territories when developing and implementing the educational policy. This means that on the one hand he central government has final responsibility for the quality of education and for the implementation of the educational innovations and that on the other hand the island territories must also have their own responsibilities. Based on this collaboration will be portrayed as a ‘professional partnership’.

The N.O.O.N.A. evaluation will be an important part of the meeting that will take place in september 1999.

The J.O.N.A. was established in March 1997. Represented in this consultation organization are the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Affairs, and the Commissioners in charge of Youth Affairs. The goal of this organization is the mutual support of youth policy on a national level, and to link the islands through the exchange of knowledge, experience, information, and insights. The national government stimulates individual island youth policies through financial and organizational support and encouragement of initiatives. The Minister coordinates through the combination and reconciliation of efforts.

4 Cooperation in EFA

For administrative purpose education is managed at two different levels through federal and insular departments of education. The tasks and functions of the federal department of education are laid down in federal ordinances. Primary among these tasks is the maintenance of quality education on each of the five islands. This involves ensuring that only qualified and competent teachers are recruited and continue to work in the service; that pedagogy and methodology are based on sound educational policies and practices; that buildings used for education are appropriate. The insular authorities among many other functions are responsible for the disbursement of salaries for all staff in Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary Schools. Salaries for persons employed in private and accredited schools that come into consideration for financial assistance receive this via their school boards in the form of subsidies. The insular authority is also the liaison between the school boards and the Executive Council. The school system unlike many of the Caribbean islands has both public and private schools. Statistical data indicate that more children attend private than public schools.

Each private institution operates under the aegis of a school board appointed by the foundation that has established the institution for learning. The executive Council is the school board for public education.

Financing sources like Internal Affairs and E.E.C. are the most important cooperating agencies that make the defining and implementing of the national EFA strategies possible. However, for the last years, SOFNA and Stichting Fonds voor Sociale Ontwikkelingen Economische Bedrijvigheid (Reda Social – Foundation for the funding of Social Developments and Economic Activity) have also contributed to the financing of educational projects.

5. Investment in EFA since 1990

Total current and capital disbursements from all governments have been budgeted at 316 million guilders in 1998. The increase in relation to 1992 (244 million) is 30 percent over a period of 6 years. This amounts to an average yearly growth of 4.4 percent. The combined governmental disbursements increased with 38 percent in that same period. Educational disbursements decreased from 14.7 percent to 13.8 percent of the gross governmental disbursements in named period.

Educational disbursements as a percentage of the Gross National Product (GNP) increased from 6.2 in 1991 to 6.9 in 1994.

Educational disbursements are about 3 to 4 percent of the budget of the Central Government. Educational disbursements consist of a fifth to a third of all disbursements for the island governments, who actually implement the educational policy.

All governments reveal an increase in educational disbursements over the 1992 – 1998 period. The increase is different per government. These disbursements increased with 12 percent at the national government level; the disbursement increase fluctuates between 27 percent (Curaçao) to 68 percent (Bonaire) at the island government level. Total governmental disbursements as a percentage of total disbursements have decreased over named period.

Governmental disbursements have seen a drastic increase at the beginning of the 90s on both central and island levels. Salary adjustments were made in 1990. Salary discrimination based on sex or civil status was abolished. All teachers received a 14 percent index-linking in 1992, just as all other civil servants.

The specific tie of the Netherlands Antilles to the Dutch Kingdom limits International financial support possibilities. However, the success of most of the proposed reforms is partly dependent on foreign financial support. Major new investments have taken place in the last few years in the area of school construction and provision for textbooks. All this is related to the governmental objective to improve the quality of education.

The School Material Foundation (Fundashon Material pa Skol – F.M.S.) was established in 1986 with the objective to promote the development and production of educational materials and at the same time consider the religious and/or neutral character of the specific school for which it is intended. The board has to following representatives, the governments of Curaçao and Bonaire and the school boards. The Commissioner of

Education is the chairman. The foundation receives financial aid in the form of subsidies from the island territories of Curaçao and Bonaire.

Various island governments are engaged with maintenance and improvement of the school complex. Most schools had to be renovated after the hurricane (Luis). Even school and study material that was completely damaged had to be replaced. The Stichting Onderhoud Scholen S.O.S.. (School Maintenance Foundation) established in the island territory of Curaçao, repairs and maintains the schools.


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