I was born and raised on Curacao, an island in the Caribbean. Curacao used to be a part of the Netherlands Antilles together with Aruba, Bonaire, Saba, Statia and St. Martin. As the name Netherlands Antilles suggests we have to do with Netherlands. Netherlands is an European country with a different education system than the USA.
In a really early phase children have to take exams to determine their level of high school. Based on this level they can continue in higher education. If you finished high school on a HAVO, you can follow an HBO-study on a higher level. The same is possible if you finished high school on a VWO-level. This is the highest level possible for high school. This VWO gives you also the possibility to go to the University. If I am correct both the HBO as the university in Holland is called the university in the USA. This makes it hard to compare to two systems, studies, and titles. Maybe later I will make a comparison.
In this post I will try to explain which titles you will get when you study in higher education in the Netherlands and in Curacao.
In the Netherlands you will get a title when you finish a study in higher education. This has changed a lot during the years. The world is trying to make the different systems more comparible. The Netherlands used to have titles as ir., ing., and drs., but now the Netherlands also use titles like Bachelor and Masters.
The law grants you the use of a title when you finish a study in higher education. There are two laws that certify what titles one is allowed to use. The laws are in Dutch; this is the first one Wet op
|Study||New title||Old title|
|4 years higher education on hbo-level||hbo-bachelor --> B followed by the field of study||ing. = ingenieur
bc. = baccalaureus
|2 years after the HBO-bachelor study||HBO-master --> M followed by field of study||didn't exist before|
On the WO-level (university) there are some changes too. See next table for the titles.
|Study||New Title||Old title|
|3 years of bachelor study at a Dutch University||Bachelor of Arts (BA) or |
Bachelor of Science (BSc),
depending on the study
|Study at a Dutch university after a bachelor study at an university||Master of Arts (MA) or|
Master of Science (MSc),
depending on the study
|Doctorandus (drs.), meester (mr.), ingenieur (ir.),|
|Highest title to obtain at a University after scientific promotion||Dr or Doctor||Dr or Doctor|
The title mr. was used if you finished your study of Law. If you finished a technological/technical or a study related to agriculture, you were entitled to use ir. Drs. was used for all other studies at a university.
Placement of titles
Where should the titles be placed? The old titles were all placed in front of your name. The new titles are placed behind the names.
For example (old titles):
Ir. Ergün Erkoçu
Drs. Mary-Ann Mac Leod
Dr. Francis de Lanoy
Examples of placement of new titles:
Moira de Castro-Martina MSc
Daynara Fullinck BBA
Earlier I mentioned that there were 2 laws about the titles. Well they are the most used and most studies fall under these two laws. Some studies have a specific title. You can then see from the title what the person studied. For example the titles Accountant-Administration consultant (AA) and certified public accountant (RA). The legal basis for these titles are the law on the accounting consultants and the law on the chartered accountants. Only if you are included in the audit registry, you may enter these titles. The same applies to the names/additions ‘ accountancy “and” accounting “.
People are working more globally and need to present themselves all over the world. The different educational systems make it difficult to explain what you have studied and at what level. In the Netherlands and Belgium, there is an organization that assesses the level of education and compare it to others internationally. The organization is called NVAO. They made a list to show how the different studies are compared. Click here for the list.
As you can see even titles are trying to reach a global standard so they can be compared and used without the hassle of different systems. I think the difference between the HBO-level and the WO-level in the Netherlands should also be more in line with what is happening around the world.
A question I quite often get is, if I am a professor or not. I can say for sure that in Curacao I am not, but from what I read in the USA it has a different meaning. Well, this will be a topic for another post.