Feasibility study regarding instruction language on St. Eustatius progressing

(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.