The education in Suriname was initially set up in analogy to the Dutch education system. In terms of structure, the education system is now a mixture of school types that were common in the Netherlands before, during and after the Mammoetwet.
The language of instruction is Dutch; mainly Surinamese Dutch. The four exceptions to this rule are the International Academy of Suriname, administered by a local Christian foundation, Christian Liberty Academy, administered by the Caribbean Christian Ministries, and the AlphaMax Academy, a private nonsectarian school administered by the AlphaMax Foundation, and since 2011 Suriname International School, which provides k12 online school for high school students.
The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) finds that Suriname is fulfilling only 61.6% of what it should be fulfilling for the right to education based on the country's level of income. HRMI breaks down the right to education by looking at the rights to both primary education and secondary education. While taking into consideration Suriname's income level, the nation is achieving 64.7% of what should be possible based on its resources (income) for primary education but only 58.4% for secondary education.
Between the ages of four and twelve children attend elementary school. In Suriname this is known as the "basisschool", which literally translates too "foundation school". This form of education consists of eight grades. Grade 1 and grade 2 is what was previously known as kindergarten in Suriname. Grade 3 to grade 8 is what is known as the GLO (Ordinary Primary Education) in Suriname.
More than 90% percent of all children attend primary school. The number of dropouts was high until 2020, when Suriname announced changes to their education system to combat this issue. Some of the elementary schools are run by religious organizations. These organizations receive subsidies from the government. Of all elementary schools, 51% are public, 48% are religious and 1% are private. Schools start at 8:00 AM and close at 12:30 PM.
After finishing elementary school, children attend high school. In Suriname this is called voorgezet onderwijs (lit. "continued education"). This level of education is divided in the onderbouw (introduction level), middenbouw (middle level) and bovenbouw ("last level").
The onderbouw or introduction level of voortgezet onderwijs (vo) is a two-year study; also called grade 9 and grade 10. This used to be the first and second year of Mulo and lbo. The curriculum consists of general high school subjects and vocational subjects.
The Eenvoudig Technisch Onderwijs (ETO) is now simply called praktijkonderwijs (lit. "practical education").
In grade 10 of the vo an exam is taken.
The middenbouw of the vo consists of grade 11 and 12. Here one can choose to go to the academic direction (vwo and havo) or the vocational side (mbo).
The academic and vocational studies of the midden- and bovenbouw of vo consist of:
The academic studies:
The vocational studies have six grades: Grade 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. These studies are:
With an mbo, havo or vwo diploma, you can be admitted to a hbo or in English a university for applied sciences.
With a vwo diploma or after a hbo propaedeutic year, students can be admitted to university. With an mbo diploma, you can also be admitted to university, but you will have to do a transition year.
Read more: Anton de Kom University of Suriname.