Interim report following round table discussions
On Wednesday 8 December, the National Ombudsman met with around 40 representatives from educational and government bodies, students and their supporters to discuss the progress made following the ‘Concerns of Caribbean students’ report. The insights generated by this discussion will be included in the interim report that is due to be published in the spring. The report will also set out the actions already taken and the areas that still need more work.
National Ombudsman’s report leads to better cooperation between ministries and organisations
The National Ombudsman appreciates the constructive effort that the various partners have made so far. He recognises that they have made a start in the right direction and are keen to achieve greater cooperation.
Nevertheless, Caribbean students clearly still face a great many practical obstacles, a situation which is not helped by the lack of a dedicated body or organisation with oversight over the process as a whole. It is especially important that senior secondary vocational education students do not fall through the cracks. When these students come to the Netherlands they are less likely to have support than higher professional and academic students, and they are often younger and less well organised.
Involvement of the National Ombudsman
The Ombudsman was asked to keep an eye on proceedings, and according to National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen it is still too soon to relax that scrutiny. More round table discussions with the people concerned are scheduled for the coming year.
‘Concerns of Caribbean students’
On 16 December 2020, the National Ombudsman completed his investigation into the obstacles facing students from the Dutch Caribbean region when they come to study, or have studied, in the Netherlands. The Ombudsman’s report concluded that, due to a range of factors, Caribbean students can get into difficulties during their studies in the Netherlands. They can then get behind with their studies, or even stop studying altogether. In his report, the Ombudsman called on the government, in particular the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, the State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations and their colleagues based on the islands, to do everything in their power to make it as straightforward as possible for these students to study in the Netherlands.