There are no laws, policies, or plans that define “education technology (EdTech)” or “Information and Communications Technology (ICT)”.
Constitution and laws: Curaçao is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. According to the Charter of the Kingdom of The Netherlands Curaçao has the autonomy to develop its own internal laws in accordance with Kingdom rules and regulations. Though this does include education, Curaçao’s education system is largely based on the Dutch system. The 1979 National Ordinance on Secondary Education (Landsverordening voortgezet onderwijs), the 1998 Early Childhood Education Act and the 2008 National regulation for basic education (Landsverordening) are the present day education laws derived from the Netherlands that are still valid and regulate education in Curaçao today.
In the 2008 National Regulation for basic education (Landsverordening) “technology” is part of the core education area of “people, nature and technology.” Core objectives for these areas are then set by national decree containing general guidelines.
The 1979 National Ordinance on Secondary Education separates secondary education into four types of schools: prepatory secondary vocational education (voorbereidend secundair beroepsonderwijs (VSBO)), secondary ad higher vocational education (middelbaar en hoger beroepsonderwijs), higher general continued education (hoger algemeen voortgezet onderwijs (HAVO)), or preparatory scientific education (voorbereidend wetenschappelijk onderwijs (VWO)). In the vocational education tracks, students have the option to choose the technology sector. This is further differentiated into different technology programmes such as general technology, information and communication technology, and ecotechnology. For HAVO/VWO, a two year “basic education” period is mandated and the 1979 National Ordinance on Secondary Education lists “technology” as one of the core subjects taught during the period. A third year of “profile preparation education” is then given; a “profile” is the subject cluster designed to emphasize a specific area of study in which the student specializes. Students then go on to choose the profile they will study for the remainder of their schooling. The Nature and Technology (Natuur en Techniek (N&T)) profile emphasizes technological and natural sciences training.
Policies, plans and strategies: Curaçao’s 2020 Teach Them Young vision seeks to prepare children for the future at an early age by acquiring the skills they need to become full citizens that can participate in a changing world. The vision is made up of a dozen focal points: norms, values, and discipline; language proficiency; digital literacy; science, engineering, and math; entrepreneurship; talent development; sports and exercise; health and wellbeing; collaboration; financial literacy; safety and hygiene; and integrity. The vision has ten main action points, the fifth of which details the country’s digital literacy and digitization strategy. The goal is to build a future-proof ICT infrastructure for public schools, develop a digital literacy learning line, and train all teachers to the required level of digital literacy to teach effectively.
The Ministry is undergoing a “Digitization of Education” program on all levels of the education system. The budget sent to the parliament was reported to have contained provisions to improve internet connectivity at all schools as well as for teacher training.
A Distance Learning Note was published by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports in January 2020.
The 2020-2022 Education Agenda Curaçao motto is “strong together” meaning all key actors must work together to improve education. Objectives include increasing access to education for every citizen, better management of education expenditure, and a better connection of the curriculum to the labor market
In a draft National Ordinance for Special Education, core objectives for student outcomes include the ability to use technological tools.
In the Budget Memorandum for 2022, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports states their intention to reorient and innovate the education sector to emphasize 21st Century Skills, namely: “Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Basic ICT Skills, Social and Cultural Skills, Information Literacy, Media Literacy, Computational Thinking and Self Regulation.” Skills of which contribute to the development of a global citizen. Digitizing Education is a priority for the ministry which wishes to create an education system that is accessible to all children/youth by utilizing technology as vehicles for a more complete education and healthy development of the people.
Digital competency frameworks: Information was not found.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: Curaçao’s 2020 Teach Them Young vision recognizes the COVID-19 crisis’ impact on the education system and notes that new skills, education, and training are needed to support the economy and build a more resilient society. The fourth action point specifically addresses the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that the consequences and long-term effects needed to be identified. Problems listed include the loss of teaching, the burden on students and teachers, the learning climate and the learning environment, supporting and training teachers for distance education, vocational education, and the difficulties regarding higher education.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: The 2008 National regulation for basic education (Landsverordening) and the 1979 National Ordinance on Secondary Education provides schools with the funding necessary for energy and maintenance costs to provide proper provisions for basic education.
The Bureau Telecommunicatie en Post (BT&P) is a multi-sectoral independent supervisor and regulator on behalf of the government of Curaçao. BT&P is tasked with policy and regulatory framework development as well as the supervision and regulation. Production, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity is mainly generated by Aqualectra, the government-owned utilities company. Current legislation regarding electricity includes the 2018 National Energy Policy for Curaçao and the 2006 National Ordinance electricity concession. The more recent Energy Policy for Curaçao focuses on 6 policy objectives: reliability, security (and adequacy) of supply, quality of supply, conservation, sustainability, and affordability. These form the foundation for the areas of attention to help develop Curaçao into a country with a sustainable, efficient and transparent energy system. Schools are briefly mentioned in the policy as justification for improving energy efficiency.
Curaçao’s 2020 Teach Them Young vision seeks to assess the status of the electricity network of schools and upgrade or maintain it as necessary.
Computers and devices: One Laptop Per Child was piloted and launched in Curaçao in 2011. However, no updates on implementation were found.
Currently, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports intends for the education system to undergo a digitalization transformation. Alongside questions of internet connectivity, the ministry has also recognized that not all children have access to digital devices. A working group, in consultation with a Dutch company, is undergoing discussion on whether renting or buying devices for students is better. If students are to “rent” their devices, low-income families will be provided subsidies to help with the fees.
Internet connectivity: The framework for telecommunications in Curaçao is through the 2011 National Ordinance on telecommunications provisions. The law provides preconditions and instructions for the building, maintaining and commercializing of the national telecommunications infrastructure and radio system. It also assigns supervision duties to the Bureau Telecommunicatie en Post (BT&P) and gives them the responsibility of building, maintaining and commercializing a telecommunications infrastructure. However, the current Telecommunications does not explicitly mention internet and a new one is in the process of being developed and passed so that the internet may be legally regulated.
Internet data and cabling for the digitization of the schools will be examined and implemented through Curaçao’s 2020 Teach Them Young vision. The Government of Curaçao, under the School Digitalisation Project, has since signed an agreement with Digicel in 2021 to bring high-speed fibre optic internet connectivity to 118 schools. BT&P will oversee the initiative alongside the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
The higher education system of Curaçao has offered distance education for years.
Schools were advised to teach digitally during COVID-19 school closures as much as possible.
In 2021, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Curaçao signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with Microsoft to support Curaçao in its digitalization process of the education system. Through this MOU, the ministry seeks to provide a modern personal e-learning environment for each student and a modern digital management environment for all schools.
Curaçao’s 2020 Teach Them Young vision lists digital literacy as one of the core focal points and describes it as the ability of children to search, assess, and select information. Children should also know how to use digital resources safely and effectively at a young age. The fifth action point, digital literacy and digitization, further goes into detail and describes the curriculum as including media literacy, basic ICT skills, information skills, and computational thinking.
According to the 2008 National Regulation for basic education (Landsverordening), prior to teaching, teachers must be in possession of a certificate of competence obtained from a training institute designated as such by the Minister and issued in accordance with a diploma model approved by the Minister. The law also calls for continuing annual training for all educators. Training in ICT or education technology is not explicitly mentioned. Information regarding teacher training or a digital literacy framework for teachers was not found.
2.4.1. Data privacy
Data privacy is regulated in Curaçao under the 2010 Data Protection Ordinance (Ordinance No. 84 Laying Down Rules on the Protection of Personal Data). The ordinance provides general principles for governing the processing of personal data. For example, international data transfers are regulated and transfers to countries that do not provide adequate protection of personal data are prohibited. Schools are not explicitly mentioned in the ordinance.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
An anti-bullying toolkit "E Kuenta di Fuerte" (The Story of Fuerte (Strong)" was handed out to schoolboards in 2020 on the First International Day against Violence and Bullying in Schools, including Cyberbullying. The toolkit was part of a UNESCO Participation Programme project "Break the Silence: Say NO to Bullying" alongside workshops and training sessions for teachers, students and parents on how to deal with bullying.
Education is governed by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport. The ministry is further subdivided into sections, with the Education and Science Sector (OW) responsible for the implementation of the education policy. The Education Inspectorate (IO) is responsible for supervising compliance with education legislation and education policy, assessing the quality of education using research and measuring instruments.
Information was not found on regulations regarding the use of digital devices in schools.