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During this mission, increasing awareness about the impact of the history of slavery in today's society was also central.

Robbert Dijkgraaf, Minister of Education, Culture and Science, will conclude an important knowledge mission to Aruba and Curaçao on Friday with the aim of strengthening cooperation in education and research within the Kingdom.

The minister expressed his enthusiasm about the trip: “I look forward to deepening and expanding cooperation in the fields of education and science. Intensive cooperation with the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, with which we have deep, historical ties, is essential. Fortunately, there is a lot of momentum in our relationship in the field of education.”

The delegation consists of administrators from 10 vocational institutions, colleges and universities, and representatives of Dutch research organizations such as NWO, KNAW and De Jonge Akademie. They will start with a visit to Aruba, where the focus is on better tailoring the educational offering to the needs of the labor market. This is a crucial theme, as the connection between education and employment has a direct impact on the economic development of the region.

In Aruba, emphasis is also placed on 'lifelong learning' and further training. It is discussed which forms of education can be used to promote continuous learning and professional development. All educational sectors, from secondary vocational education to university education, are involved in these discussions.

Another important part of the mission is the theme of student mobility. Students who participated in the Kingdom Fair share their experiences. This scholarship aims to facilitate student exchange within the Kingdom and is becoming increasingly popular, with an expected increase in participating students in the coming years.

In the context of the history of slavery, attention is paid to the historical impact and its current impact on education on both islands. Thematic sessions are being held at Caribbean universities to address these issues, with the aim of promoting greater understanding and knowledge about this painful past.

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Curacao Willemstad
Photo: © Pitane Blue - Curaçao Willemstad

In Curaçao, the mission will focus on strengthening cooperation in research and science. Discussions are being held about improving research capabilities and overcoming barriers that young researchers, such as postdocs and PhD students, experience in financing their research.

The knowledge mission concludes with a working conference of the Strategic Education Alliance, where the focus is on increasing the study success and equality of opportunity of Caribbean students. This mission to the Caribbean follows previous successful missions to Indonesia and South Africa, which significantly strengthened bilateral cooperation in education and research.

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