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The Netherlands: Kingdom’s Countries are taking steps to increase study success for Caribbean students  

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The Netherlands: Kingdom’s Countries are taking steps to increase study success for Caribbean students  

28 March 2023
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Country news

The four countries of the Kingdom (Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands and Sint Maarten) want to introduce a kingdom grant to increase student exchange within the Kingdom. With the financial support of this new grant, young people from, for example, the Caribbean part of the Kingdom can more easily follow further education in the Netherlands. The Kingdom grant is one of the intended measures to increase the study success of Caribbean students.  

The ministers of education of the four countries expressed this intention during the annual Four-Country Consultation on Education, Culture and Science, which took place in Curaçao. Minister Dijkgraaf (OCW) took part in this on behalf of the Netherlands. Several studies have shown that many Caribbean students in secondary education in the Netherlands encounter barriers. The causes are both in preparatory education in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom and in further education in the Netherlands.  

Exchange students 

A student from Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten or the BES islands (Bonaire, Saba, Sint Eustastius) can now travel to all European countries, except the Netherlands, with an Erasmus+ grant. The four countries want to change this situation. A mutual temporary exchange leads to more mutual understanding and appreciation. It has therefore been agreed to develop a new mobility program for all students within the Kingdom, following the example of Erasmus+. The new kingdom grant should enable mobility at secondary vocational and higher education level (MBO, HBO, WO), both between the islands themselves and with the Netherlands. This mobility also applies to internships. The aim is to make the scholarship amounts comparable to the Erasmus+ programme, also taking into account students with less financial possibilities. 

Transition to further education 

For many Caribbean students, the transition to further education currently appears to be (too) challenging. To better prepare them for higher vocational education and university, the four countries want to combine existing initiatives for a pre-academic year and develop them further into a 'Caribbean academic orientation year'. This one-year preparatory program covers both academic skills and student life. The idea is that the three universities in the Caribbean will offer a joint programme, where desired in collaboration with Dutch universities of applied sciences and universities. In the longer term, secondary education itself must be improved when it comes to the transition to further education. Finally, the ministers have agreed that research will be carried out into improving the connection between education and the labor market. Secondary education in the Caribbean part of the kingdom is currently not in line with the labor market. In the coming period, the proposals will be worked out in more detail in coordination between all countries. 

Source: Eurydice Unit Netherlands 

 

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