Free education bill adopted by Parliament
WILLEMSTAD – “Free education will eradicate inequality.” The Members of Parliament agreed on this yesterday during the public debate on the topic. The bill proposal for free education was adopted unanimously.
The change means that education will in principle be free of charge. The government had already begun with the provision of textbooks to students in the secondary and vocational education. That was started in the school year 2012-2013.
By amending the National Ordinance the ministry of education will move to a structural arrangement which stipulates that: all school materials will be property of the government and can be used by the students during the school year and can have access to all educational facilities without financial contributions from the parents. Private schools and non-subsidized programs are not covered by this regulation.
According to the MPs the parents are now assured of education for their children, whatever their circumstances are.
It should, according to some of the MPs, be clearly defined what the concept exactly entails, because not everybody recognizes the importance of this law. The MPs also wondered whether free education can also be implemented for further studies.
Independent MP Marilyn Moses agreed that education is the basis for the development of the community, but the quality should be well ensured.
The proposal was initiated in 2012 by the late Helmin Wiels and according to the MP for the ruling party Pueblo Soberano (PS), Winnie Raveneau; “He who opens a school door closes a prison door.” Children are held on the right path through education. “We're going in the right direction.”
However, there were also criticisms. PAR MP Zita Jesus-Leito asked about the funding. “How can this be financed in the long-term? Do we have a budget for that? Can the Minister guarantee in the long term that there will be sufficient financial resources?" The MP also wanted to know about the training for teachers.
Independent MP Omayra Leeflang said to be in favor of free education, but not for those who earn above average incomes.