Laptops and subsidies for schools in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba

Kralendijk, The Bottom, Saba, Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- On the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba) more than 1000 laptops arrived last week. OCW employees in the Caribbean Netherlands took care of the distribution of these devices among the schools that applied for them. Minister Slob also enables schools in the Caribbean Netherlands to offer pupils extracurricular activities to catch up on incurred learning arrears.  

During the recent closure of the schools in the Caribbean Netherlands as a result of the coronavirus, all schools did their best to continue education as well as possible. Many schools worked with paper homework packages for the students, usually in combination with education via digital channels. Because not all families and teachers had the necessary tools for this – a laptop or tablet and an internet connection – not all pupils were able to participate fully.

That is why Minister Arie Slob for Primary and Secondary Education and Media decided to honor the application of the public entities for the financing of laptops for digital distance learning. “It is important that all students in the Caribbean Netherlands can continue to receive good education during these times when they often work from home. The right tools are crucial in this respect”, said Minister Slob.

While the internet providers on the three islands offered discounted or free Wi-Fi connections where necessary, an inventory was made per island of how many laptops are needed to ensure that every teacher and student can participate in digital distance learning. The devices were subsequently ordered and shipped to the islands in collaboration with SIVON (cooperative of school boards in primary and secondary education).

Schools are currently examining how to integrate digital distance learning into their education in a better way. In addition to the necessary tools, this includes the selection and purchase of programs and software and the promotion of necessary digital skills for teachers, students and their parents.

In addition, schools in the Caribbean Netherlands can make use of the OCW subsidy regulation for catch up and support programs for education 2020-2021. They can use this additional funding between the period of the summer vacation of 2020 and the end of the summer vacation of 2021 to provide additional support to students who incurred a backlog in their learning or development, as a result of the Corona crisis.

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