John Wesley High School to close its doors; students and teachers must be transferred

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(Oranjestad)—The John Wesley High School in San Nicolas, which falls under the Protestant Christian Education Foundation Aruba (SPCOA), has been subject to discussions in the press in the past few days. Our reporter has posed different questions regarding this issue to the Minister of Education, Endy Croes, but has yet to receive answers.

During his last press conference on the matter, Minister Croes assured that after various discussions with SPCOA, they presented a table written in a letter, indicated the number of students that were attended the high school in the past few years: “In 2018 or 2019, the school only had 225 students, which was still permissible by law. Unfortunately, this year has only seen a total of 64 students,” Croes stated.

For this, he explained that you cannot run a school with this tiny number of students. This would mean a loss in money, because the operation cannot be sustained for much longer. There is a possibility to raise the tuition from 700 Aruban florins to 1,000 florins, “but this is a decision that the minister has no influence in. This is decided by management of the foundations under which John Wesley High School forms part of. However, they have provided a safety net for the students and teacher; they made sure that they could be transferred to other nearby high schools.”

It was on April 19th that the students have sent a letter directed to Minister Croes concerning the possible closure of their school. In the letter, they pleaded to the minister to reconsider the closure before taking a final decision.

They expressed that their tiny school is a family. They have created a social media account for the school in order to gain more entries of students and consequently reduce the current expensive tuition.

“We are members of the student council SMAD, Students Making a Difference. We established this council this year to make sure that our voice is heard concerning our education. The reason we sent this letter is to share our point of view on why we think the school should remain operational. Our main concern is to lose the comfort we acquired while attending. The reason why we want to keep the school running is because it is there for you no matter what. Teachers even stay after school, or use their free time to give extra lessons or to provide extra support for the students. We are upset that no one addressed this matter with us, or even asked us about our interest, our rights. We as SMAD heard the concerns of every student,” the document read.