Education in CuraÃ§ao is similar to the Dutch school system. Officially, education for children older than six years old is in Dutch but there are ongoing discussions to change this into Papiamentu or bi-lingual lessons. Secondary education begins after the completion of 8 years of primary education, which begins at the age of 4. Education is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16.
There are three types of general secondary schools:
1. MAVO (4 years); intermediate general secondary education, 2. HAVO (5 years); higher general secondary education and 3.VWO (6 years); university preparatory education) and a variety of vocational schools. Most schools start with a transitional year (‘brugjaar’). The theoretical subjects in this year are the same for all types of schools. It aims to acquaint the pupil with the various types of secondary schooling, to postpone the final choice among these types and to provide the school with the opportunity to determine the pupil’s abilities.
Classes are from August to the end of June or the beginning of July. In addition to the lessons at school there is a great deal of homework, in general secondary schools require up to 3 hours a day in the last 2/3 years. The pupil’s progress is assessed by tests in each subject throughout the year. The final report at the end of the school year determines whether the pupil will be promoted to the next grade.
Education in English
In addition to Dutch Education, CuraÃ§ao has schools, which offer private, American curriculum taught in English. The CuraÃ§ao American Preparatory School (CAPS) and the International School of CuraÃ§ao are the only two advanced secondary schools in English. The International School of Curacao is a private, coeducational school, which offers an educational program from kindergarten through grade 12.
The International School of Curacao offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, English as a Second Language (ESL) and computer science. Programs for both learning disabled and gifted and talented students are also included in the curricula of many schools. The School is in session from late August to mid-June. An international and U.S. curriculum is followed based on U.S. texts. Academic areas include English, math, social studies, science, computers, Dutch, art, Spanish, music, physical education, and English as a Second Languages.
Dutch Kindergarten schools include Albert Schweitzer Kleuterschool, Chispita School, Goilo Kleuterschool, Johan van Walbeeck Kleuterschool, Marnix Kleuterschool, Pire Kleuterschool and Romer Kleuterschool. The International School of CuraÃ§ao is the only English-speaking kindergarten on the island.
Dutch Primary Schools include Schroeder School, Albert Schweitzer Basisschool, Johan van Walbeeck School, Goiloschool, Pire College and Romerschool. Some Intermediate Secondary Schoolâ€™s in Dutch include Albert Schweitzer MAVO, Abel Tasman College, Marnix MAVO, Triniteit MAVO and Vespucci College.
Advanced secondary schools in Dutch include Abel Tasman College, Maria Immaculata Lyceum, Peter Stuyvesant College, Radulphus College and Vespucci College. CuraÃ§ao has higher vocational education in Dutch; Schoevers Opleidingen, Universiteit van de Nederlandse Antillen and Zeelandia Opleidingen Groep.