No of students in Suriname classes to be lowered

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – A state resolution is being drafted to lower the number of students allowed in a classroom at all levels, from kindergarten to senior high (VOS). Yet lowering this number drastically will have consequences, including extra teachers, teaching materials, money and classrooms, says Eddy Jozefzoon, chairman of the presidential Task force on Education. It has been proposed to the government to introduce the new numbers in the first grades of all levels next school year, and to introduce them gradually in the higher grades afterwards. Meanwhile, 54 hearings have been held with the educational field. A preliminary inventory shows 135 new classrooms will be needed. “Money’s no problem, the classrooms will be built”, Jozefzoon claims. If the President accepts the proposal, kindergarten classes will consist of 18 pupils, while this number will be 25 for primary schools and 22 for secondary schools. The education department of the Roman Catholic Church, RKBO, reportedly already works with smaller classes. Teachers, social workers and psychologists are being registered. Jozefzoon emphasizes that the Task force does not appoint people, but only advises the President. A registration has shown that some 80 percent of teaching materials is outdated. Jozefzoon pointed to an economics book from 1969 that mentions linking the Surinamese guilder to the US dollar. Many teaching materials must be updated. School leaders are expected to produce a list of materials needed for next school year, so it can be purchased in time. The intention is to forge cooperation between the Task force and the Education Ministry. Jozefzoon states that the Task force can never obstruct the Ministry’s work, explaining that they submit proposals to improve and eventually reform education.



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