(RCN Press release)
Feasibility study regarding instruction language on St. Eustatius progressing
Last week, members of the study group that is conducting out a feasibility study regarding the instruction language on St. Eustatius visited the island for the second time. The feasibility study follows the linguistic study “Language of instruction in Sint Eustatius”, which was performed in 2013. The linguistic study presented two options for the future language policy of St. Eustatius. Both options are based on English as the language of instruction with Dutch as a strong foreign language. That study did not include the feasibility of the options brought forward.
Following the first phase of the investigations into the school instruction language a feasibility study is now being conducted into the possible language policy scenarios. The study includes two additional options that were introduced by the State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). The first additional option is: a continuation of the present system but with a number of adaptations. The second additional optional, like the options presented in the first reseach, is based on English as the language of instruction with Dutch as a foreign language, combined with the use of exams from the Caribbean Examination Council.
The feasibility study deals with three questions:
- Which adaptations would be necessary, for instance in terms of the methods, materials, exams and teachers?
- Which are the expected consequences, e.g. for the results and the possibilities for further education?
- How should a possible transition be tackled, for instance: what would it mean for the current pupils?
The study group is formed by education expert Tineke Drenthe (chair), the Curaçao anthropologist Rose Mary Allen, Antilles expert professor Gert Oostindie and professor in education Wim Meijnen. The second visit was made by Tineke Drenthe, Rose Mary Allen and Gert Oostindie, with the support of secretary Monica van Leeuwen-Laan of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences. During this first visit the team spoke with many education stakeholders and experts.
During the second visit to St. Eustatius the group spoke with many education stakeholders and experts, including pupils, parents, teachers, school principals and board members. The team also visited Saba and St. Maarten, where they also spoke to experts.
The report will be discussed with commissioner of Education Zaandam (Sint Eustatius) early in June. The State Secretary of OCW and the Executive Council of St. Eustatius will discus the results of the feasibility study during the Caribbean Netherlands week in June next.
The objective of the feasibility study is to make it possible for State Secretary Sander Dekker of OCW to take a well-founded decision in June next on the language policy to be pursued in St. Eustatius. If it is decided to proceed to adaptation of the instruction language regime, it will be laid down in the law. The regime will then apply to all schools on the island.
Tineke Drenthe, Rose Mary Allen, Gert Oostindie and Monica van Leeuwen-Laan during a visit to Fort Oranje on St. Eustatius.