Plans for Dutch Language Instruction School in Statia

Former principal of the Gwendolyn van Putten School, Wim Noordzij, will function as consultant for the project. Photo: Facebook profile Wim Noordzij

Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- Former politician, State Secretary and past president of the GVP school board, Nora Sneek-Gibbs, has conceived a plan to set up a new school, where Dutch will be the language of instruction.

Sneek-Gibbs has asked Wim Noordzij, former principal of the Gwendolyn van Putten School, as advisor to research the various possibilities. In addition, several experts in the field of education of Statian descent in the Netherlands and on Statia are asked to think along in the development phase to create a broad support. There have been talks with the Ministry of Education, the Education Inspectorate, NOB, the language Union, the Steering Group Caribbean Netherlands as well as private schools, schools in the Caribbean Netherlands, other islands and method developers.

“The main reason for deciding to offer Dutch-language education is that in all educational forms offered on Statia now, the target group that is preferring Dutch-language education or has a Dutch-language background, is forgotten and has no choice since the instruction language nowadays is English-only on all schools”, according to Sneek-Gibbs.

English Education since 2014

In 2014, English education was chosen for Statia. According to Sneek-Gibbs and Noordzij an additional consequence of this choice is that without enough knowledge of the Dutch language, working in certain functions at the local government as well as other professions is no longer possible because the right qualifications are lacking. It seems logical to give freedom of choice in choosing in which language the education is offered; Certainly on an island like Statia which is a part of The Netherlands, and as such a Dutch entity the Dutch language should be an option.

“SAS wants to offer a versatile package where Dutch will be the language of instruction. In addition to educational projects, social and community programs will also be offered in the fields of education, sports, culture, dance, music, spoken word and Storytelling, environment and nature. Sustainability is paramount at SAS as well as complying with the United Nations ‘ Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs”, according to a press release signed by Sneek-Gibbs and Noorzij.

Town Hall meeting

The plans for the new school will be discussed during a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday October 30th 2019 from 7.00 PM. – 9.00 pm at the Ernest van Putten Youth Center.

People who want to get in contact with Sneek-Gibbs or Noordzij can do so by contacting them on + 599 318 4051 (Sneek-Gibbs) or + 316 53142432 (Noordzij). Mails can be send to or

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