Historian Dr. Margo Groenewoud works at the same university as I do, the University of Curaçao Dr. Moises da Costa Gomez.
Dr. Groenewoud (1968) obtained a Ph.D. degree in Humanities at the University of Leiden and at the University of Curaçao (UoC) in 2017. She is an assistant professor at the UoC Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences and member of the executive committee of the Association of Caribbean Historians. In the Faculty of Social and Behavioral
Her thesis, ‘Nou koest, nou kalm’ was about the development of the society of Curaçao, 1915-1973: from colonial and church authorities to self-government and citizenship.
This year our university will turn 40 years old and Dr. Groenewoud decided to take a look at the development of the character of education in Dutch Caribbean national universities over the past years.
There are some points in her paper that caught my attention.
First are two of the concerns the government had when they decided to launch the university.
A. “How would this Curaçao-based institution compare to, and relate to, Dutch universities?”
This is something I feel that is still influencing our day to day functioning at the university. It feels like our own reasons for doing things the way we think or want are seen like inferior or not important. In the Netherlands this or that is important, so it should be important here too. Although our context is quite a bit different.
B. “The university should be an institution with vocational training alongside academic education and scientific research”
They realized this for sure. For instance,
Second is the ambivalence shown by the universities trying to balance global with local. I think this balance is of extreme importance for such small countries/islands like those of the Dutch Caribbean. Now that everything is going global we can not just be concerned with our island and what is needed here. We can work for a country far away but living in Curaçao. So we should be prepared for global living/working/interaction but at the same time prepare to use our local environment/language/culture to get there. This is my dream for the math curriculum of Curaçao.
Curious to read what dr. Groenewoud has written, click here for the whole paper.