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Netherlands Antilles
Netherlands Antilles

August 11, 2010

Family Denied Permission to Homeschool in Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles

On the Caribbean island of Curaçao, a part of the Netherlands Antilles, citizens must abide by stringent education laws. For example, families are prohibited from traveling off of the island with their children during school days unless granted special permission from the school principal, as well as the Ministry of Education.

HSLDA recently learned of the island’s interpretation of its compulsory education law when a homeschool family attempted to take their children to attend the wedding of a friend in the United States. The family eventually gained permission to travel. Yet authorities then challenged the family’s form of education—enrollment in an umbrella institution, with instruction provided at home. The family had homeschooled successfully for six years in the United States prior to arriving in Curaçao. In May, the local government in Curaçao denied the family’s application for an exemption from the compulsory attendance law. The family is now pursuing an administrative appeal to see if they can gain the necessary exemption to homeschool. The next step would be to appeal their case in the courts.

The Netherlands Antilles is currently a country within the Netherlands. In October of this year, the Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist, and the self-governing island of Curaçao will become an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Education law in Curaçao mandates enrollment in an educational institution. Parents are required to request and obtain an exemption from the school law to teach their children at home. Unfortunately, exemptions are rarely granted, as education officials state that there are “sufficient public schools” on the island. At present, an exemption from mandatory schooling on the basis of personal conviction is slightly easier to obtain in Curaçao’s mother-country, the Netherlands.

HSLDA is supporting the family as they fight for their homeschooling freedom. Please keep this family in your prayers. If you would like to financially assist international homeschoolers like this family, please visit the Home School Foundation’s website for its International Fund.