Published On: Fri, Aug 23rd, 2013

‘Late delivery of books is school boards’ fault’

Students in blackWILLEMSTAD – The new school year started with some serious issues. Students of the College Radulphus High School, Maria Immaculata Lyceum (MIL) and Alejandro Kolegio Paula (formerly Peter Stuyvesant High School) are attending classes today dressed in black. This is their way of protesting against the way the Government and especially the Minister of Education deals with education. These three schools are camping, since the beginning of the new school year on August 8, with a shortage of school books. The Director of the Student Foundation Curacao (SSC), Margrit de Freitas says the students have to blame their school board.

SSC is the implementing body when it comes to the supplying of books. According to Freitas, the schools have not placed their order on time, so not all books could be delivered on time. “People forget that there is a logistics process involved for providing textbooks. We have clearly communicated well in advance when schools were required to submit their shopping lists. We have even taken late orders into account our planning. In April, we received the order forms from all the schools and then indicated that only small adjustments can be made. From this point, we have placed the orders.”

De Freitas says that it appears that many schools had not placed their orders correctly. “Schools should also return books from previous years, it is only now that we are getting these back causing a chaos. For example, we received a whole lot of school books from just one school. After we had sorted everything we got from the school told they had turned in the wrong books.  The Roman Catholic schools have not turned in books at all and wished for us to sign a letter of intent first. This letter must first be approved by the Minister of Education with the result that the school received the statement until August 1. We got the certificate until August 7, a day before the schools starts again.”

The Director talks about more situations that are slowing down the process. "Of course I also want everything to be delivered on time, because after all the students are the victims. But it is very easy to put all the blame on us. Commercial interests are being watched at schools and distributors of books. There is also opposition from schools. It may best be said, not everyone gives all children the same opportunities in Curaçao. They want to keep it at an elite level and disadvantaged children fall by the wayside.” The general manager means is that disadvantaged children get their books often too late because of third parties.

De Freitas has indicated that this morning books were delivered at two schools. "This afternoon we will visit Radulphus High School and MIL. Tomorrow we will be at Radaulphus all day. “The director also says that this is not the first time. "Every year books are delivered late, now suddenly there is ​​a fuss. Many books come in on time, but books are delivered too late by those who have hidden agendas. We need to better interact and put the interest of the students first. "Finally De Freitas says that despite these problems everything is being done to deliver these books as fast as possible. "The graduating classes now have the priority and then the other classes."

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