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Wednesday, January 11, 2006 

40 million for social education, 9.5 million for maritime course
by The Daily Herald

Posted: Jan 10, 2006 14:15 UTC

WILLEMSTAD - The Netherlands will contribute substantially towards the financing of the mandatory social education programme in the Antilles during the coming five years, with a total of 19 million euros (more than 40 million guilders) reserved for investment and operation, it was announced in a joint release by the Antillean Government information service RVD and the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.

In addition, Dutch Minister of Transportation and Public Works Karla Peijs will make a maximum of 2.5 million euros (5.3 million guilders) available for the maritime training project “Ku Kara pa Laman” (Facing the Sea).

Minister of Kingdom Relations Alexander Pechtold will supplement this amount with a maximum of 2 million euros (4.2 guilders), if it can be guaranteed that youngsters from the mandatory social education programme will have preference in participating in the learn-and-work courses.

The Netherlands expects that the integral introduction of mandatory social education for young, jobless school dropouts will start in the short term, so that there will not be a gap at the end of the pilot project. The programme is an initiative of Ys Cabinet II. The Netherlands supports the idea that extra efforts are necessary to offer underprivileged youth in the Antilles better prospects and for that reason is making extra funds available.

The Netherlands Antilles will submit its implementation plan for the first phase to executing agency of the Antillean development foundation USONA by January 15. The pilot project Mandatory Social Training started in May 2005 with the participation of 200 youngsters in Curaçao, Bonaire and St. Maarten.

The intention of the Netherlands Antilles is to implement the course integrally as of January 15, with the participation of youngsters who have already followed the pilot project plus 300 new youngsters obliged to take the course. These include all the youngsters registered at the Registry Office from 16 up to and including 24 years of age who left school prematurely (dropouts), who do not have a permanent job or possess a diploma.

In a letter to Antillean Prime Minister Etienne Ys, Pechtold promised at the end of December 2005 that the exact Dutch contribution for the integral implementation of the mandatory social training would be established on the basis of a substantiated proposal, including a budget.

This contribution is intended for the core activities: second chance provisions, apprenticeship and job creation, residential assistance and maintenance of the mandatory social training. The integral introduction of the mandatory social training will be in the form of a step-by-step plan. For each phase, an actualised project proposal will be submitted.

The Netherlands makes a distinction between one-time investment cost for setting up the mandatory social training and structural monthly recurrent operating cost per young person.
The investment cost is financed by the Netherlands up to 100 per cent; for the operating cost per young person a phasing-out scheme shall apply.

The Dutch financing will also be made available per phase. Each phase has output criteria laid down in advance; for example, the percentage of youngsters participating in the courses, the percentage of youngsters completing the course successfully and the percentage of youngsters moving up to secondary education or finding jobs.

Those results must have been realised at the end of each phase, for the Dutch contribution depends on it.

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