Concrete steps during work conference ‘Study success Caribbean students’

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Every year, approximately 1,600 students from the Caribbean part of the Kingdom start their studies in the Netherlands.

They run into so many problems during their studies that they often do not make it to graduation. All countries involved will meet in Aruba from September 26 to 28 to develop a concrete approach to these problems, The past year and a half of focused (online) work have been done in preparation for this important conference.

During the work conference ‘Study Success Caribbean Students’, Aruba, the Dutch Caribbean, Curaçao, St. Maarten, and the Netherlands hope to jointly develop support programs with concrete and structural measures so that more Caribbean students will be able to complete their studies. To achieve that, among other things, they must focus more on study choice, cultural differences, and language. They will also launch an online communication platform to share best practices during the conference.

Governments and education together

The conference will be held at the University of Aruba. The Aruban Minister of Education and Sports Affairs, Endy Croes, and Ron Bormans, chairman of the board of Hogeschool Rotterdam and chairman of the Regiegroep “Study Success Caribbean Students, will officially open it. Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science, Marjan Hammersma, will also be present. Other attendees are representatives of the governments of Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius, Saba, and the Netherlands, as well as rectors of four universities and a broad representation of secondary education, MBO, and HBO.

Participants at the conference will address topics such as proper preparation of Caribbean pupils and students who wish to pursue higher education, careful transfer and monitoring of students, educational opportunities on the islands, and study mobility within the Kingdom.

Plan of approach to improve study success

The Caribbean students’ problems in higher education, and the need to work together to find a solution, are known for some time. That is why, at the request of the ministerial Four-Country Consultation, the Steering Group started in 2021, with representatives from the government and education of the four countries, which has developed an action plan to improve the study success of Caribbean students.

A project group representing relevant parties from education from all countries also started work on this plan of approach in 2021. This group will share the current state of affairs, including concrete measures already taken, with the participants during work conferences.

They will submit structural measures to the Four-Country Consultation.

Building on what is already in motion, the Regiegroep will formulate the joint recommendations for the Ministerial Four-Country Consultation on Education, Culture, and Science, which will take place in December.