Suriname 1982

By | September 13, 2023

Suriname in 1982: A Historical Snapshot

Suriname, a small South American nation situated on the northeastern coast of the continent, has a unique history and cultural diversity. In 1982, Suriname was undergoing significant political, social, and economic changes. This overview provides a detailed look at Suriname during that time, covering its historical context, politics, society, economy, and international relations.

Historical Background:

The history of Suriname is marked by a complex mix of indigenous cultures, European colonization, and the impact of the transatlantic slave trade. By 1982, the country had experienced a series of significant historical events that had shaped its identity and society.

  1. Dutch Colonization: According to constructmaterials, the Dutch established their presence in Suriname in the 17th century, primarily using the region for sugarcane cultivation. The legacy of Dutch colonialism is still evident in the language and culture of the country.
  2. Slavery and Plantations: Suriname was a major center of the transatlantic slave trade, with enslaved Africans brought to work on sugar and coffee plantations. The legacy of slavery deeply influenced Suriname’s demographics and culture.
  3. Independence: Suriname gained independence from the Netherlands on November 25, 1975, becoming a sovereign nation. The country retained strong ties with the Netherlands, which continued to influence its politics and economy.

Politics in 1982:

In 1982, Suriname was experiencing political turmoil and instability, marked by several key developments:

  1. Military Coup: On February 25, 1980, a military coup led by Sergeant Major D├ęsi Bouterse and a group of non-commissioned officers overthrew the civilian government. This coup ushered in a period of military rule.
  2. Military Regime: The military government, known as the National Military Council (Nationale Militaire Raad or NMR), assumed power and implemented a series of authoritarian measures, including the suspension of the constitution and suppression of political opposition.
  3. Ethnic Tensions: Suriname was ethnically diverse, with a significant Afro-Surinamese population, as well as people of Javanese, Hindustani, and Amerindian descent. Ethnic tensions and discrimination were issues that affected political dynamics.
  4. Guerrilla Conflict: In the rural interior, the Jungle Commando, a rebel group led by Ronnie Brunswijk, engaged in armed conflict against the military regime. This insurgency added to the instability and violence in the country.

Society and Culture:

Suriname’s society in 1982 was characterized by its ethnic diversity and cultural richness:

  1. Ethnic Diversity: The population of Suriname was a mosaic of ethnicities, including Afro-Surinamese (descendants of African slaves), Hindustani (descendants of indentured laborers from India), Javanese (descendants of Javanese laborers), Maroons (descendants of escaped slaves), and Amerindians (indigenous peoples).
  2. Language: Dutch was the official language of Suriname, but Sranan Tongo (Surinamese Creole), Hindustani, and Javanese were widely spoken in daily life, reflecting the country’s linguistic diversity.
  3. Religion: Suriname was a religiously diverse nation, with a significant Christian population, as well as Hinduism, Islam, and traditional indigenous belief systems.


The Surinamese economy in 1982 faced numerous challenges:

  1. Natural Resources: Suriname was endowed with abundant natural resources, including bauxite, gold, and timber. Bauxite mining, in particular, was a key industry and a major source of revenue.
  2. Economic Crisis: Economic mismanagement, declining commodity prices, and the nationalization of key industries had led to an economic crisis by 1982. High inflation and unemployment were pressing issues.
  3. Dependence on Bauxite: The economy’s heavy reliance on bauxite exports made Suriname vulnerable to fluctuations in global commodity markets.
  4. Agriculture: Agriculture, particularly rice and bananas, played a crucial role in the rural economy. The country’s fertile soil supported both subsistence and commercial farming.

International Relations:

Suriname’s international relations in 1982 were influenced by its political dynamics and its natural resource wealth:

  1. Ties with the Netherlands: Despite achieving independence, Suriname maintained close ties with the Netherlands, which remained an important trading partner and source of development assistance.
  2. Regional Relations: Suriname was a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and maintained diplomatic relations with neighboring countries in South America, including Brazil and Guyana.
  3. Foreign Policy Shifts: The military regime pursued a policy of non-alignment and sought to establish relations with countries such as Cuba and Libya, which were at odds with the Western bloc.
  4. Bauxite Agreements: Bauxite mining companies operating in Suriname, many of which were multinational corporations, played a significant role in the country’s economy and foreign relations.


In 1982, Suriname was navigating a complex landscape of political turmoil, ethnic diversity, economic challenges, and international relations. The military regime had suspended democratic institutions, leading to concerns about human rights abuses and political repression. Ethnic tensions added to the instability, and armed conflict persisted in the interior.

Despite these challenges, Suriname’s society remained resilient, embracing its cultural diversity and traditions. The nation’s rich history, influenced by centuries of colonization and the legacy of slavery, continued to shape its identity.

In subsequent years, Suriname would experience further political shifts and economic reforms, ultimately leading to a return to democratic governance and attempts to address its economic challenges. The nation’s journey since 1982 reflects its enduring struggle for stability, development, and the preservation of its cultural heritage.

Primary education in Suriname

Primary Education in Suriname: A Comprehensive Overview


Primary education serves as the foundation of a nation’s educational system, shaping the intellectual, social, and personal development of its youth. In Suriname, a culturally diverse nation located on the northeastern coast of South America, primary education is a critical component of the country’s efforts to provide equitable learning opportunities. This comprehensive overview explores the primary education system in Suriname, covering its historical background, structure, curriculum, challenges, and recent developments.

Historical Background:

According to allcitycodes, Suriname’s history is marked by a rich tapestry of cultures, including Indigenous peoples, European colonizers, and enslaved Africans brought to work on plantations. The development of its education system, including primary education, is influenced by this complex history:

  1. Dutch Colonization: The Dutch established their presence in Suriname in the 17th century, primarily for sugarcane cultivation. Dutch colonial rule introduced European-style education but with limited access for enslaved Africans and Indigenous peoples.
  2. Slavery and Plantations: Suriname was a major hub for the transatlantic slave trade, and the legacy of slavery profoundly shaped the country’s demographics, culture, and society.
  3. Independence: Suriname gained independence from the Netherlands on November 25, 1975, becoming a sovereign nation. The country continued to maintain close ties with the Netherlands.

Structure of Primary Education:

The primary education system in Suriname is structured as follows:

  1. Kleuteronderwijs (Preschool Education): Preschool education is not mandatory but serves as an important preparatory stage for children aged 4 to 6. It focuses on early childhood development, socialization, and the development of pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills.
  2. Basisonderwijs (Primary Education): Primary education in Suriname encompasses eight grades, ranging from grades 1 to 8. It is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 12, providing them with foundational knowledge and skills.
  3. Language of Instruction: Dutch is the primary language of instruction in Surinamese schools, reflecting the country’s colonial history. However, Sranan Tongo (Surinamese Creole), English, and Indigenous languages may also be used in instruction, especially in the early grades.


The primary curriculum in Suriname is designed to provide a comprehensive and balanced education, with a focus on core subjects and cultural diversity:

  1. Core Subjects: The curriculum includes Dutch, mathematics, science, social studies, physical education, and arts. These subjects aim to provide students with a solid academic foundation.
  2. Cultural Education: Suriname’s curriculum emphasizes the importance of cultural education, allowing students to learn about the diverse ethnic groups, languages, and traditions present in the country.
  3. Multilingualism: Suriname’s linguistic diversity is reflected in the curriculum, with an emphasis on multilingualism. This approach recognizes the value of different languages and strives to promote proficiency in multiple languages, including Dutch and Sranan Tongo.
  4. Cultural Awareness: Students are encouraged to explore and appreciate the country’s cultural diversity through activities, festivals, and projects that celebrate Surinamese heritage.

Challenges in Primary Education:

Suriname’s primary education system faces various challenges that impact access, quality, and inclusivity:

  1. Access Disparities: While access to primary education is generally high, disparities exist between urban and rural areas, with remote regions often having fewer schools and less access to educational resources.
  2. Teacher Shortages: Suriname faces a shortage of qualified teachers, particularly in remote and Indigenous communities. This can result in high student-teacher ratios and varied quality of education.
  3. Socioeconomic Factors: Socioeconomic disparities can affect access to education, as some families may struggle with the costs of uniforms, school supplies, and transportation.
  4. Multilingualism: The use of Dutch as the primary language of instruction can be challenging for students from non-Dutch-speaking backgrounds, especially in the early grades.

Recent Developments:

In recent years, Suriname has taken steps to address these challenges and improve its primary education system:

  1. Teacher Training: Efforts have been made to enhance teacher training and professional development to improve the quality of education and ensure that educators are equipped to teach in a multicultural and multilingual context.
  2. Infrastructure Investment: The government has invested in expanding and renovating school infrastructure, particularly in underserved areas, to enhance access to education.
  3. Curriculum Reforms: Suriname is in the process of updating its curriculum to make it more relevant and responsive to the changing needs of society and the global job market.
  4. Multilingual Education: Initiatives have been introduced to promote multilingual education, recognizing the value of different languages and encouraging proficiency in both Dutch and Sranan Tongo.
  5. Inclusive Education: Efforts are being made to promote inclusive education, ensuring that children with disabilities have access to appropriate support and facilities.


Primary education in Suriname plays a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s future by providing children with the skills, knowledge, and cultural awareness needed to thrive in a diverse society. While challenges such as access disparities and teacher shortages persist, Suriname’s government, in collaboration with international partners, is working diligently to enhance the quality and inclusivity of primary education. By addressing these challenges and continuing to invest in education, Suriname aims to empower its youth with the education they need to contribute to the country’s growth, development, and cultural richness.