Education reform is a work in progress – – News Views Reviews & Interviews

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: StMaartenNews

PHILIPSBURG — Minister Rodolphe Samuel (Education, Culture, Youth and Sports) has addressed the ten recommendations established in the Interim Education Review Report to arrive at the following conclusion: “All the proposed recommendations are being addressed.”

In one sense this is correct, because Minister Samuel has indeed addressed all the issues that stem from the review-report. But in spite of an exhaustive and very detailed explanation of all the shortcomings and possible solutions for St. Maarten education-system, there seems to be very little to report in terms of actual results.

The minister uses terms like initiatives, research, evaluation and even recommendations to show how busy his ministry is with all these issues but it seems that all the good intentions can best be described as a complicated work in progress.

The review-report contains ten recommendations, and Minister Samuel has discussed them all during three successive press briefings. To keep our readers entertained or at least a bit interested, we will stay away from going into all the details. Instead, we will highlight the most interesting topics.

One of the recommendations from the review-report is “to ensure a safe learning environment for students.” The ministry wants to tackle this issue by providing direct support to teachers and to do further research into this. Other initiatives include the creation of a policy and a roadmap towards reformed secondary education, improving students’ preparedness for higher education and/or for joining the labor market, a special needs policy and (again) research into CXC (Caribbean Examinations Council) and CVQs (Caribbean Vocational Qualification) as options for secondary vocational education.

The review-report also recommends the creation of a continuous learning path. What does the ministry want to do? Among other things implement reforms to improve the study success of Caribbean students in the Netherlands and devising a strategy to improve numeracy and literacy. The ministry also wants to establish a Council of Education and Labor.

Creating a mature government structure is yet another recommendation. The ministry intends to draft recommendations for the amendment of the national decree for the funding of education, research the funding model and establish a national decree for the funding of higher education.

The ministry’s ten-year strategic plan (2016-2026) aims to minimize bureaucracy and to establish a public education school board.

Obviously, the ministry has also keep an eye on the money that is spent in the education system. To this end it has contracted the government accountancy bureau (SOAB) to research compliance with education legislation, compare granted subsidies with actual financials and check whether financial management measures are in place. SOAB completed its research in March, but the ministry did not provide any details about the results.

There is much more in the works and we will present here a few examples. The division public education is in the process of upgrading all public schools with interactive boards, laptops and tablets. A policy change to establish a more efficient school busing system is underway, as is an evaluation of foundation-based education.


Related links:Caribbean students don’t do well in the Netherlands

Download the Interim Education Review Report here>>>

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