Ombudsman keeps eye on issues of islands’ students

The Dutch National Ombudsman will keep track on the improve­ments that are necessary for Dutch Caribbean stu­dents in the Netherlands, he announced on Monday.

In the year ahead, the National Ombudsman will continue to monitor prog­ress of the recommenda­tions that he has made in an earlier report with regard to the students. In recent years, the Dutch National Ombudsman has been in­vestigating the problems faced by Dutch Caribbean students in the Nether­lands.

The list of problems and challenges that the stu­dents face is long: racism, language issues, cultural differences, limited sup­port and guidance, complex laws and regulations. The National Ombudsman has made recommendations for government and organ­isations to improve the situ­ation.

Thanks to his efforts, the problems in the Nether­lands and on the islands have been identified. The first action points have also been set in motion. Dutch ministries are preparing changes to the law, which should enable Dutch Ca­ribbean students at last to obtain a citizen service number BSN, and to access Dutch health insurance.

A Steering Group is also working on a procedure to improve coordination between education in the Dutch Caribbean and in the Netherlands. In addition, organisations are working on improving the informa­tion that is provided about studying and living in the Netherlands, as well as about study debt.

However, there is still a lot of work to be done, stated the National Ombuds­man on Monday. “Making changes to laws takes time. Some problems, such as the lack of accommodation, cannot be resolved easily.”

The National Ombuds­man announced that he will be organising another roundtable discussion with organisations and minis­tries involved, later in 2022. At this roundtable discus­sion, he expects to hear details of the permanent improvements achieved for Dutch Caribbean students in the Netherlands.

The Daily Herald.

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