SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The members of youth publication Teen Times has requested the Party for Progress (PFP) faction in Parliament to take whatever steps it deems necessary to facilitate and realize the implementation of comprehensive St. Maarten history in secondary school curriculum. The group presented PFP leader MP Melissa Gumbs with its official request during one of its weekly team meetings on Saturday, June 5.
The group is aware that there is an Education Committee of Parliament but chose PFP to present its request to considering its young core and forward thinking approaches. The intent if for PFP to channel the request through the correct channels and take whatever steps the faction deem necessary to firstly determine what such an effort would require.
“Once the faction is clear on a way forward, Teen Times would like to see serious effort put towards such an initiative, even if it means involving the Ministry and Minister of Education, using the expertise available at the Ministry with the involvement of necessary third parties and experts,” Teen Times said in its request. It added that the group does not believe in sitting back and waiting on government to identify priority areas for young people. As such, Teen Times believes that history informs national identity and adding the country’s history to curriculum is for young people a priority.
The group said “for far too long we have sat back and watched our young people inundated with this history of Europe and in some schools in the United States. While we believe this is also necessary and do not want to diminish the importance of global history, only in very limited instances on the elementary school level is anything about St. Maarten’s history is actually taught. Our students therefore lack valuable knowledge of their history as compared to their peers in the wider Caribbean, in particular on the secondary school level. Teen Times believes it is time to take steps towards implementing comprehensive St. Maarten History in the curriculum in our secondary schools.”
Once a framework of how St. Maarten History will be taught, whether by course in parts over a single school year, or a continuous running-course over the years in secondary school from grade to grade, Teen Times suggest that a Curriculum Writing Team should be put in place to complete the process.
“We are aware of how programs and electives are chosen in the schools, so we are under no illusion that the inclusion of a new subject course on the high school level will be done immediately. But such a start could also be in the form of a pilot project at one secondary school where the curriculum implementation can be assessed,” Teen Times said, adding that teachers ill obviously play a key role and a change in the education law will also probably be required.
The group believes that the steps of such an initiative should include:
- Planning: Scale, scope, stakeholders, timelines
- Vision: Purpose, intended learning outcomes
- Assess: Review literature, SWOT analysis, surveys
- Training: Training of teachers
- Structure: Program structure, course progression, educational experiences
- Monitor & Adapt: Perhaps implementing a pilot project prior to full implementation.
“We believe that before a young person can optimally elevate our country in various fields, said young person must know their history and appreciate their past to fully embrace their future. This education of their history, the country’s history, should start within the schools. More specifically, with curriculum or courses that focus on St. Maarten’s history and development. We do not expect this project to be completed over night, but we must make it a national project and after years of talk, we must make a start for the sake of our children, future generations and for the love of St. Maarten,” the group said.