St. Maarten students arriving at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in July 2017. (File photo)
THE HAGUE–St. Maarten students studying in the Netherlands at higher vocational education HBO level perform relatively well and obtain their Bachelor’s degree more often than other Dutch Caribbean students.
Of the Dutch Caribbean students in HBO, 33 per cent of the St. Maarten cohort of 2014-2015 most often obtain their Bachelor’s degree within the specified time. For the students from Curaçao and Aruba, this percentage was between 20 and 25 per cent.
This was one of the interesting conclusions in the Monitor Policy Measures Higher Education 2019-2020. The 239-page report, drafted by Research Ned on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science OCW, dedicated attention to the various policy groups, including Dutch Caribbean students. Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven recently sent the report to the Dutch Parliament.
Between 800 and 1,000 students from the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom come to the Netherlands every academic year for higher education, which is HBO or university. The influx from the six islands has increased slightly in the past years and shows a stable division between three-quarters HBO and one-quarter university. The largest part of the higher education students comes from Curaçao, followed by Aruba and St. Maarten.
The study output of Dutch Caribbean students is relatively low, lower than of students raised in the Netherlands. Generally, the percentage of Dutch Caribbean students who obtain a Bachelor’s degree in HBO and university is lower than of students with a Western, a non-Western or non-migration background.
At HBO level 23 per cent of the Dutch Caribbean students who started their studies in 2014-2015 obtained their Bachelor’s degree four years later, versus 33 per cent of students with a non-Western migration background and 55 per cent of students without a migration background, meaning those from the Netherlands. St. Maarten HBO students are an exception at 33 per cent.
At university level, 45 per cent of Dutch Caribbean students who started a Bachelor’s degree programme in 2015-2016 obtained their degree, versus 58 per cent of the students with a non-Western migration background and 61 per cent of the students without a migration background.
At university level, around 50 per cent of Curaçao students obtain their Bachelor’s degree, while Aruba students score much lower at 30 per cent. A specific percentage of St. Maarten university students obtaining their Bachelor’s degree was not available in the report.
The drop-out rate, a combination of ceasing studies and switching studies, is also high among Dutch Caribbean students at about 50 per cent. Dutch Caribbean students switch studies in HBO and university more often than students who attended secondary school in the Netherlands.
Some 60 per cent of the Dutch Caribbean students switch study at HBO level and almost 50 per cent at university level. Around 10 per cent of the Dutch Caribbean students at the HBO level drop out completely and less than 10 per cent at university level. The difference in drop-outs between Dutch Caribbean students and students with a Dutch education and a non-Western migration background at both HBO and university level has increased.
According to the report, Dutch Caribbean students more often stop during or at the start of their initial study than other students. Dutch Caribbean students switch more often, and it does not matter much which island the students hail from, because the percentage is about the same for all.
It is a known fact that Dutch Caribbean students, more than their Dutch peers, often have a hard time in adapting in the Netherlands. The different culture, language and society contribute to this, as well as the fact that they miss home and their family.
Also, these students switch more often because, unlike their Dutch peers, they cannot personally visit the open days at the HBO schools and universities months before the academic year starts to acquire in-depth information about the study and to get an on-the-spot feeling about the university beforehand.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/st-maarten-students-do-well-at-hbo-level