The cabinet in Curaçao is taking more measures against the extreme heat.
Schooldays are shortened and there are more classrooms with air conditioning.
The measures are taken after continuing criticism of the government from the community and educational institutes. Labor unions and schools have asked before to invest in ventilation, like air conditioning and electric fans.
Just before the beginning of the school year, acting minister of Education Van Heydoorn announced that schools could close early as soon as the meteorological services announced Code Yellow. This led to severely irritated parents and schools.
Because they get to hear all of a sudden during the morning that the children must be
picked up from school. After receiving criticism the cabinet now comes with extra
These are the measures for September:
Primary schools finish a 12 o’clock every day in September
Secondary school ends at 12.30
The ministry consults the meteorological services about measures for the month of
For the remaining days in September primary schools are to close at noon. Children
in secondary schools can leave school at 1 o’clock. In consultation with the meteorology service, the decision will be made whether it is wise to have a normal schedule in October.
Ever since June Curaçao has suffered from periods of continuing heat; the thermometer shows 34 degrees but because of humidity, it feels much hotter. School rooms get so hot that lessons become unbearable to teachers and pupils.
One million for ventilation in classrooms
Apart from this, the minister has appointed 1 million Antillian florins for the purchase of
air conditioning, electric fans, and ice boxes. Many schools do not have air conditioning, and many don’t have access to 220-volt current. That should be fixed before installing air conditioning.
Closing schools even earlier is not a good idea, says the minister. Then schools would get even more behind with the lessons than has already happened with the COVID-19 pandemic. The schools share these concerns.
Labor unions happy with the decision
Education Union Doen is happy with the ministers’ decision. Recently they had requested to install a tropical roster for schools for the weeks between the beginning of June and the end of September.
This decision also addresses the care of the childcare centers; they are not able to take in children much earlier in the day.
Inequality in the Kingdom
Maghalie van der Bunt-George of the protestant school board VPCO pointed out recently that the dire situation in schools (children are receiving less tuition because there is no air conditioning) will increase ‘educational inequality’ in the Kingdom.