PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports has the task to ensure transportation services for students to and from school who otherwise would not be able to get to school without said service. Besides that, the ministry ensures transportation for extracurricular government approved trips and trips to and from the pool for swimming lessons. Approximately 2000 plus students are making use of this service on a daily basis.
Due to the increasing costs to the amount of Nafl. 5.4 Million on a yearly basis and violent activities on school buses, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports had to re-evaluate our current bussing system to ensure a more effective, efficient and sustainable system for our students, which is also in compliance with all the relevant ordinances and policies.
To provide a better bussing service, improvements have been approved by the Minister of OCJS in 2015 such as:
Public Bidding, in accordance with the National Accountability Ordinance, to allow for fair, open and transparent awarding of Service Level Contracts for said service with the possibility to sub-contract to current and new operators.
Video surveillance recording and control technology on all school buses in use.
The technology will record all activities operating on the school buses. They are meant as a strong deterrent and the information gathered with the systems will prove to be extremely effective in capturing video evidence of these violations and help produce valuable reports and provide data that the Ministry of OCJS as well as government on a whole can utilize.
GPS System and Electronic School ID Passes which will prohibit anyone other than those authorized to use the bus to have access to the bus, track the whereabouts of the buses, allow for parents and government to track students on the bus in the interest of compulsory education.
It is the objective of this Ministry to protect the future of our students, insure the effective use of available funds and limit the increasing cost of Nafl. 6 million over the past 5 years.
With the extra funds that will become available due to the implementation of the new bussing service , the Ministry of OCJS intends to make several critical investments such as:
Maintenance and back log of Public and Subsidized Schools for the next 10 years.
Structural replacement of inventory of schools.
The start of the Educational Care Center for students of Public schools.
More support for teachers in schools to ensure a better quality of education.
The Ministry of OCJS aims to continue providing a service that is essential to those students who otherwise would not have been able to get to school, control costs, use the funds for other essential investments in education and re-assure parents that the school bussing service is still a safe means of transportation for their children.
Source: 721 news New School Bussing Service as of August 1st, 2016