On the BES-islands the Compulsory Education Act BES was implemented for parents, students, schools, government and truancy officer to know their role in ensuring and guaranteeing a child’s right to education.

Public Entity Saba would like to inform you of the rules and regulations that are stipulated in the Compulsory Education Act BES (Leerplichwet BES).

Our main objective is to ensure children receive an education and to ensure this, the Compulsory Education Act BES must be adhered to. Therefore, a truancy officer is appointed by the government to ensure that parents, students and schools are adhering to this law.


Truancy Officer

A truancy officer monitors school attendance and works with school administrators, students, parents, and their communities to keep students in school. Truancy officers act as law enforcement specialists to the extent that they enforce school attendance laws established by the Compulsory Education Law.

Truancy Officer
Public Entity Saba
Tel: +599-416.7821

At times schools are entitle to 8 extra days allocated for workshops and trainings.


Parents must ensure that their children are registered at school and attend school regularly. The law is applicable to students from the age of four until the age of sixteen. At the age of 16, the student will have to follow a complete education program until he/she has obtained a start qualification MBO 2 diploma or has reached the age of 18.


Sacred heart School and Saba Comprehensive School are required to report suspected unauthorized absenteeism of 16 or more than 16 hours/periods to the truancy officer. Schools are also encouraged to alert the truancy officer before a student is at the unauthorized 16 hours/periods. Please note that tardiness can easily lead to the 16 hours/periods of absenteeism.

Additional Information & Requirements

Extra Leave

Extra leave up to a maximum of 10 school days per school year may be granted by the school. Please take note that if a request is made for 3 days and it is granted, the remaining 7 days are no longer available.

Parents should provide a well-reasoned extra leave request to the school principal in a timely manner. If an extra leave request exceeds 10 days it is submitted to the truancy officer. Submit the request at least 8 weeks prior to the extra leave commencement date.

Traveling Abroad for Medical

The parent is responsible for providing the school with a ZVK medical referral letter. The school prepares a letter and the truancy officer will date, sign and stamp the letter in agreement. This letter should be presented to immigration upon departure.

Parents can pick up letter Monday through Friday between 8:30 – 11:30am.

Compulsory Education (Law)

The obligation of parents and/or guardians is to ensure that a youngster is registered as a pupil in school. A child who celebrates his fourth birthday is allowed to start school on the first day of the month after which he/she turned four years, (depending on space available).

This obligation will terminate:

  1. at the end of the school year in which the youngster has attended one or more schools during at least twelve academic years of complete education;
  2. at the end of the academic year in which he or she has reached the age of sixteen and has obtained a start qualification. In the event these youngsters have not obtained a start qualification at that age, the obligation to follow complete education or to follow a combined trajectory of both learning and working will remain in effect until they have either achieved a start qualification or have turned 18 years.
  • Each youngster of school-going age, must be registered in school.
  • Exemption from registration can be requested:
  1. if the young child based on physical or psychological grounds is not capable to be admitted to respectively a school or an institution;
  2. if parents and/ or guardians have strong objections against the persuasion of education of all school, respectively institutions, situated with the public entities, all of which are at a reasonable distance from the home– or, if they do not have a permanent address, – where the youngster can be placed;
  3. if the youngster is registered as a student at an educational institution situated outside one of the public entities and is attending this institution regularly.


The public entity Saba supervises the adherence to the law and has appointed to this end a sworn truant officer (compulsory education officer).

The school principal is authorized to grant extra leave in special circumstances. You must submit a request to the school principal with substantiated with proof. The school principal is allowed to grant maximally ten school days leave per school year. In the event the leave amounts to more than ten days per school year, the truant officer shall decide the request after having consulted with the school principal.

The parents shall submit the request for additional leave at the school principal who thereafter will look at the request herself or will forward it to the truant officer.


Request for extra vacation, in case of ten school days or less, shall be dealt with by the school director herself. Once per school year such a request can be submitted. This request for extra vacation days may never be requested during the first two weeks after summer vacation.

A request for leave for a period of more than ten days must be requested eight weeks before hand by the school director.


School directors are compelled to report immediately unauthorized absenteeism as of 16:00 hours in 4 successive weeks to truant officer (compulsory education officer).

Should it become necessary to take your child out of school during school time for more than ten days, this request can be made only once at the Sacred Heart School. After the first request, all other requests must be made with the Truancy Officer.

The truancy officer along with the school administrators, have the obligation to ensure that all students adhere to the compulsory education laws. Thus, all students are required to attend school with minimal absences. If student are traveling abroad during school time, they are required to a have a letter to present to immigration before leaving the island. All request should be directed to the school. The school will inform/contact the Truancy Officer if needed.

Leave of absence from school for more than ten days without consulting with the truant officer or Sacred Heart School can result in parents having to pay a fine.

Leerplichtwet BES Artikel (Artikelen 6-10) – click here

Children turning the age of four starts school the 1st day of the month following their birthday.

Example a child who makes birthday January 10 will start school February 1st.  A child making a birthday October 4 will start school November 1st.