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Round-the world success for Dutch teenage sailor - but what about school?

Tuesday, 31 January 2012
Laura dekkers onboard her sailboat Guppy

It's good to see that Laura Dekkers, the 16 year old who recently sailed single-handedly around the world onboard her yacht Guppy, suceeded in a dream that has inspired her since she first set off sailing at the tender age of 5. Her success raises some questions though about the extent to which educational authorities can enforce their decisions when it comes to compulsory education.When Laura and her parents first made their plans known in 2009 when Laura was 13, the Dutch authorities strongly opposed them on the grounds that she would be neglecting her education. Eventually she was allowed to go ahead on the condition that she followed regular online tuition and kept up with her school work. Laura enrolled in the Wereldschool which provides teaching programmes for Dutch-speaking children who stay abroad with their parents.

This virtual school which provides online support and monitoring is being used on a yearly basis by approximately 1,400 pupils, spread over more than 128 countries. Laura followed Wereldschool up to September last when she let it be know that she was stopping with Wereldschool as she was simply too busy during her round-the-world voyage for school work. The authorities were powerless to stop her. More information about Wereldschool is available on their website.

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