Photo description: Teenagers at the courtyard of a School in Saba

What are the future plans of VO and MBO students?

In 2020, almost half of all secondary and secondary vocational (VO and MBO) students aged between 11 and 18 years on Bonaire and Saba said they would prefer to continue education after obtaining their diploma. The Netherlands and the United States were popular destinations to go to after graduation. The share who preferred staying on the island was higher among those who planned to start working, compared to those wanting to continue studying. There are no figures available on this topic for St Eustatius.

What secondary school students (11 to 17 yrs) want upon completion of VO or MBO, 2020 (%)
Item Bonaire Saba
Continue education 45.7 48.4
Work 14.9 16.1
Start their own business 12.5 20.4
Other 9.3 5.4
Don't know yet 17.5 9.7

Almost half wish to continue education

In 2020, students aged between 11 and 18 years in secondary education (VO) or secondary vocational education (MBO) were asked what they would ideally do once they had obtained their diploma. Almost half of the students on Bonaire (46 percent) and Saba (48 percent) wanted to continue some form of education. A minor share wanted to work or start their own business. The share wanting to start their own business was higher on Saba (20 percent) than on Bonaire (13 percent). On Bonaire, a relatively large share of the students did not know yet what they would like to do after obtaining their diploma (18 percent).

The students did not necessarily see their future on Bonaire or Saba. Upon graduation, 37 percent of the students on Bonaire would prefer to go to the Netherlands and 22 percent to the United States; 17 percent preferred to stay on Bonaire. Of the students on Saba, 9 percent would prefer to stay on the island, 34 percent wanted to go to the Netherlands and 29 percent to the United States. On Bonaire, the share wishing to stay on the island is higher among those who want to start working (35 percent) than among those continuing their education (10 percent). For Saba, the numbers are too small to make reliable statements about students wanting to work versus continue education and the preference to stay on the island.

Top 4 preferred destinations among VO and MBO students (11 to 17 yrs) upon graduation, 2020 (%)
destination Share
Bonaire .
Netherlands 36.6
United States 22.3
Bonaire 16.8
Canada 6.4
Saba .
Netherlands 34.4
United States 29.0
Canada 9.7
Saba 8.6
46% of VO and MBO students on Bonaire and 48% on Saba want to continue education after obtaining their diploma Buitenvorm Binnenvorm


See their future

First, respondents were asked: ‘What would you ideally like to do once you have your diploma?’ Depending on the answer, the next question was: ‘Where would you ideally like to do that?’ or ‘Where would you ideally like to live?’ Possible answers included: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St Eustatius, St Maarten, the Netherlands, Canada, the United States, elsewhere.

More information about secondary students, their school experience and their future plans (Dutch only)


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More information (in Dutch only):

Explanation of symbols

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. figure is unknown, insufficiently reliable or confidential
* provisional figure
** revised provisional figure
(between two numbers) inclusive
0 (0.0) less than half of unit concerned
2016–2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 average for the years 2016 up to and including 2017
2016/’17 crop year, financial year, school year etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2004/’05–2016/’17 crop year etc. 2004/’05 up to and including 2016/’17

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

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