Minister Jet Bussemaker of OCW (Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap; Education, Culture and Science) and representatives of the Caribbean Netherlands educational institutions signed the ‘Second Caribbean Netherlands Education Agenda 2017 - 2020– Working Together On The Next Step’ during the Third Education Conference. The signing of this new education agenda was the culmination of the third education conference, which was held on November 28th on St. Eustatius.
The Caribbean Netherlands Education Agenda is a document which indicates what should happen in the next few years to further improve the quality of education in the Caribbean Netherlands in the interest of the pupils and to realise that education in 2020 meets the European Netherlands standards. Over five years ago the representatives of local education parties signed the Caribbean Netherlands Education Agenda 2011 - 2016 – ‘Working Together on Quality’. This also happened during an education conference, which took place in March 2011 on Bonaire. During her opening speech Minister Bussemaker expressed her satisfaction with the implementation of the first education agenda: “I am proud of the results. The quality of education has improved. The quality of the school board has improved. And the school buildings have improved significantly.”
A lot of work has been done but not all ambitions have yet been realised. Whereas the first education agenda focused on achieving basic quality, the new education agenda focuses on maintaining the quality improvements which have been realised and improving learning output. During this process, education stakeholders on the islands will perform their tasks more and more independently.
The new education agenda continues to build on the priorities from the first education agenda. The text has been written from a so-called bottom-up approach. The process started with the evaluation of the first education agenda, by policy consultancy firm Ecorys. Their findings were presented to the education stakeholder per island in April 2016. Subsequently all stakeholders contributed to the contents of this document during so-called ‘island sessions’ on each of the islands. The education agenda describes the ambitions and targeted results for 2020 per priority and what role the parties involved have. So-called ‘island sections’ of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba respectively have been added to the education agenda. In these sections, the education stakeholders of these islands indicate per priority what activities they will perform in order to realise the agreed results for 2020. By signing the education agenda, the minister, the school boards in primary, secondary and vocational education, the commissioners of the three public entities, the Expertise Centers for Education Care, the Sociale Kanstrajecten (SKJ) and the Raad Onderwijs en Arbeidsmarkt (ROA; Council for Education and Labour) express their commitment to the implementation of the new education agenda in the period 2017 - 2020.
The signing took place in the presence of the chairmen of the sector organisations of primary education and secondary education in the European Netherlands.