80 percent of the teachers in St. Eustatius achieve their Cambridge Engels certificate

Last Monday during a festive ceremony at the Gwendoline van Putten School, teachers from all educational institutions on St. Eustatius received their “Cambridge Certificate of English”. With the presentation of these certificates a retraining process of a total of 18 months ended. The retraining is part of the transition to English as the language of instruction. A transition that places demands on the teachers for dominating the English language.


The training program was funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) and conducted by a team from the University of St. Martin (USM). The process began with a test in January 2015, aimed at identifying the ability levels of individual teachers. The five skills tested were: listening and speaking, writing, reading and spelling & grammar. The candidates where divided into four groups based on their test results and professional needs. These were trained weekly for three hours by the USM lecturers dr. Rhoda Arindell (writing and spelling and grammar), Dr. Natasha Gittens (listening and speaking) and Wendie Brown (reading abilities).


The candidates received both verbal and written feedback on their submitted assignments and if possible in response to their individual needs. The participating teachers themselves had previously also done their own analysis of their strengths and weaknesses in the English language. Of the total of 88 participants 81 completed the entire exam. The level achieved (in accordance with the European Framework of Reference for languages) was: 22% B2 (B stands for the independent language user), 49% at C1 level and 10% at C2 level (C stands for the skilled user). Prior to the examination, the candidates made a mock exam, on which  they received  feedback.


For the examinations on St. Eustatius, the USM signed a  MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the official regional center for Cambridge exams in Guadeloupe. Between August 15th  and 19th , 2016 there was a test team that came from Guadeloupe to St. Eustatius to take the exams. Those consisted of an individually oral part and a written part. The examination was carried out strictly in accordance with the Cambridge examination protocol.
At this moment the school boards and directors are working with the transition coordinator Angela Dekker, appointed by the OCW, on a proposal for the continuation of the further education of English in 2017 for new teachers and for those who have not yet reached the level required.