We lived on Bonaire from 2009 to 2011. At that time, one of the reasons to leave the island and go back to live in Groningen was that we wanted the boys to enjoy good educational possibilities. In Groningen, they could choose from a wide range of high schools with different approaches and different levels. From an international school to schools with extra projects and assignments, a sports oriented school, a school where subjects are combined in research and design assignments with a practical use in society, and more. Wow.
Despite the lack of all these possibilities, we are now back on Bonaire and planning to stay. The boys are doing great in the only local high school, about which we sure can mention a lot of negative aspects. Facilities and buildings are not as good as in the Netherlands, the level of the teachers vary, it’s difficult to replace a teacher properly during absence, due to the many different backgrounds there is a great difference in levels in between kids, at the beginning of the school year there were not enough books for everyone and at this time there is no proper sports facility. Like schools in Holland, the Scholengemeenschap Bonaire is divided in different levels. At some of the locations of the school there are problems with violence, bullying, drugs and alcohol. There is a guard at the gate and there sometimes seems to be fights.
But. Still. Our boys are really doing great. They are mixing with children from a lot of different backgrounds and nationalities, which we find very educational in it self. In Marks class alone, there are children from Colombia, Surinam, Belgium, Luxembourg, Bonaire, the Netherlands, Venezuela, France and Curacao. At their level (VWO) there are not so many students. As a result, they both have small classes with respectively 15 and 20 students. This is a luxury compared to ‘normal’ Dutch class sizes of around 30 children. Most of the children are motivated and there’s a good vibe without bullying. They work through the same books as they would have to in Holland and in the end they will take the same exams.
What we find even more important is how they develop themselves as young adults. We encourage them to take responsibility and to take challenges. We discuss serious issues with them, but are also laughing a lot. We meet new people and we explore new places together. They are close as brothers who share a passion for kiteboarding, fishing and adventuring. We are close as a family spending a lot of time together doing what we love. Holland or Bonaire; in the end that’s all that matters.