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Sunday, April 16, 2006 

Sunday 16 April 2006

Leeflang made a suggestion for more bi-lingual schools

CURACAO – Education-minister Omayra Leeflang (PAR) discussed a suggestion in the minister council yesterday to allow more bi-lingual schools in the Antilles. The school boards will have to appoint the bi-lingual schools, based on the demand.

She made the suggestion after the fact that a few hundred children couldn’t get placed in one of the four schools that maintain Dutch as the instruction language in the first four years of basic education (FO). The idea of extending the education policy is also to return the image of the Antilles as multi-lingual country. Besides, Leeflang established that there is some kind of inequality now, since only a limited amount of schools are allowed to maintain Dutch as instruction language. At this moment, Römer School is the only school that gives lesson in two languages, Dutch and Papiamento. But there is much more demand for Dutch- or bi-lingual schools. “With this policy, we want to bring back the peace and the confidence in the education again”, said the minister. She pointed out the inquiry of a few years ago when 77 percent of the parents indicated that they prefer bi-lingual education. It’s true that Antillean people can speak Dutch, English, and also Spanish, but not many really know the specifics of those languages. Therefore, from the first cycle of the FO already, the children have to become familiar with a foreign language. The council of ministers will decide on this suggestion in two weeks.

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