The famous Curacoan musician Julian Coco, who passed away in Febuary 2013, had right: education is is the only salvation.
My Mom and Dad both were educators. It is the most common profession in my family. I have grown up surrounded by teachers. Let me mention a few of them: Testing, Broekhoven Kamperveen, Jean Pierre, Blijd, Shak Shie, Stuger, Jansen, Clementina, Falbru, Jonis. I, myself worked in education. I was associate professor at the University of the Netherlands Antilles. I was the Dean ended by carrier there as President. Before that for years I have contributed to the global initiative School of the Future by Arthur Andersen.
Learning its the most natural thing. Every child learns. First knowledge is transferred from parent to child. This cannot start early enough. The sooner the better. It is a myth that the mother tongue and languages, that a child should learn only the mother tongue first. It is totally the opposite. The more languages a child is exposed to the better.
History of education in Curacao.
My consulted source: the publication by Prof. René Romer. When the Dutch WIC arrived in Curacao in 1634 education was not an apparition. The settlers started private schools teach their children. It was the Catholic Church and Mgr. Niewindt , who later was called the emancipator, who started to educate the slaves. Slavery was abolished in 1863. It was till 1819 that education became a government affair. The government started a school system based on two types of schools. A free school and a paid school. This became a form of discrimination and was abandoned only in 1962.
In 1935 Mulo system from Holland was introduced. 1962 Teacher program was started and in 1968 the big change, Mamoetwet, was implemented, to keep up with the system in the Netherlands. This was the moment that Suriname, also a Dutch colony at the time, stopped following the Dutch system and continued their own development.
The School of Law started in 1971. And the School of Engineering 1972. These two later became the University of the Netherlands Antilles.
Our problems with the educational system
The current system faces four challenges: The connection to the labor market is poor, according to employers. Kids do not have enough skills when they receive their degrees or finish heir educational program. The dropout rate is 40% (Eva Meijer, 2012). These people leave the educational process without a qualification. This despite the fact that staying is school till the age of 18 is mandatory. The
Boys Problem (2009). Boy have the highest dropout rate. And in this era social and behavioral problems are present in the schools and the schools have to deal with it.
The current system in Curacao
FO : Funderend Onderwijs
VSBO : Voorbereidend Secundair Beroepsonderwijs
SBO : Secundair Beroeps Onderwijs
HAVO : Hoger Algemeen Vormend Onderwijs
HBO : Hoger Beroeps Onderwijs
VWO : Voortgezet Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs
(http://www.kbbcuracao.com/index.php?topic=beroepsonderwijs_nl, Accessed on 19 January 2013)
After Basic education there are three tracks leading to the labor market: Vocational traning, Higher vocational training (HBO in Dutch) and the University education.
To a great extend we copy the system of the Netherlands, because many of our students continue their university education in the Netherlands. Many do not return after they graduate. This is the greatest cause of the brain drain.
Recent years show a gradual population decline in the school system. In the school year 2009/2010 were slightly more than 35,000 enrolled students, it is expected that during the school year 2012/2013 33,839 students are enrolled at the different school types. This development is consistent with the figures provided by the Central Bureau of Statistics. There are about 18500 in the basic school. Only 10% of the students are on the track of higher education. This is way too low for the knowledge society.
Another issue is the poor performance of the Inspection of Education. They are not present in the schools and so do not stimulate the quality of the programs.
In 2013 the government spends 320 and 40 million of the 1.7 billion of the total budget in education.
One of the relatively new developments in education is the concept of Learning Styles. David Kolb identifies four behaviors and four matching learning styles. DOERS exhibit a combination of active experimentation and concrete experience. They have a preference to get to work as quickly as possible and learn best when there is room for practice times. The learning processes by doers relies primarily on trial and error.
DREAMER has a preference for concrete experience and reflective observation. They seek learning situations in which they themselves can experience how something works in practice. They look at issues from all sides and see ever new inputs and solutions. Dreamers learn very quickly through identification.
THINKER, combining reflective observation and abstract conceptualization. They prefer working on translating observations into hypotheses and theories. They are good at reasoning and are happily intellectually engaged. They enjoy working independently so to the first get the opportunity to an idea of the theory.
DECIDER, are good at and have a preference for abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. They will prefer theories and try in practice and in experiments. They take initiative and daring experiments. When handling a problem they go deductive and problem-solving to work. They function best when they have a learning task that can begin cognizance to clearly and concisely formulated rules and principle, which it can process in a training situation.
An international comparison of education systems
The best practices in the world are, Finland, Korea, Singapore, St. Kitts & Nevis. The secret of Finland is the appreciation of the teacher. They are educated at a university level and enjoy the highest status in the country. The best practices teach us
From 2.0 to 3.0
We are moving from the Industrial Age to the Information Society, from pyramid to network society. No frontal teaching anymore. That belongs to the industrial era. Now we the school should be based on the following principles:
Learning to learn
Long life learning
Values and norms
ICT, meaning One Laptop Per Child
Education has always been good. The elite has always been good for education. They innovate education but are often accused of reproducing inequality. Society should be base be a meritocracy; the best should take charge, no matter where they started in life. This is the best practice of Singapore.