PHILIPSBURG:— Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs said in response to a question posed by SMN News that the government of St. Maarten namely the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of TEATT and the school bus association are in negotiations as they are trying to put in place a service level agreement (SLA) for school bus drivers. The Minister said another meeting is scheduled for next week but she could not guarantee that this issue will be completely resolved before school reopens.
Minister Jacobs said the idea is not to take food out of anyone’s mouth but rather to properly structure the services that are granted by school buses. The Minister further explained government has to ensure that they do not exhaust all their funds on one program while other programs from the education ministry could be affected. Minister Jacobs said that the Ministry of Education has sponsored some 10 sporting programs most of which had to take athletes overseas either to compete or for training.
Minister Jacobs further explained that one of the options that government is looking at is to have parents that have a decent salary purchase bus cards’ since the school bus is actually there to take children whose parents cannot afford to school. She said some parents pay private transportation, while some take their children to school, purchasing a school bus card would be a safe way of transporting students to school the Minister said. She made clear that all of this are only ideas but so far no definite decisions have been taken on the matter.
Contractor abandoned the construction of Vocational School Classrooms.
The Minister further explained that there have been some hiccups with the contractor that was contracted to construct four classrooms at the St. Maarten Vocational School. Minister Jacobs said the contractor stopped working and as such she gave instructions to have another contractor come in to do the job while the department of VROMI will have to decide on how they will deal with the contractor that was awarded the bid.
The Minister said that due to this set back a number of students that applied to attend the St. Maarten Vocational School would not have a space at that school for the moment and such the department of education is working on getting the other schools that offer PSVE programs to see if they have space and could admit those students until they have more space at the St. Maarten Vocational School.
In the meantime staff of the Ministry of education have decided to donate their time to assist with painting schools that need urgent renovations before school reopens. The Minister is also calling on businesses to lend a helping hand. At least two schools need urgent renovation namely the Oranje School and the St. Maarten Vocational School.
Academic Levels on St. Maarten dropped— Minister urged recipients of Study Financing to make good use of the finances they are given.
The Minister of Education also called on students who received study financing to make good use of the grants/ loans they are given. She said this year some 182 students applied for study financing, so far 124 students were granted (68%) while 51 students were denied (28%). The Minister said some of the students that were denied appealed their case, therefore she does not have the final figure as to exactly how many students will get study financing.
Of the 124 students that were granted study financing, 37 of them opted to continue their education in the USA, 36 in the Netherlands, 20 will remain in St. Maarten, 8 goes to England, 7 to Canada, while some students will go to other countries but those going to the other countries are under five at least one student will be going to Scotland.
The students that applied for study financing will be pursuing different careers such as nursing, ICT, European Law, Business are some of the areas of studies the students chose.
The Minister said that students that qualify for study financing have to have a grade point average of 2.5. She made clear that study financing is a privilege granted to students as a scholarship and or grant. Those students who chose to drop out of school or not perform well academically will be putting themselves and their parents in extra debts because if a student does not excel then the entire sums of monies they receive will become a loan and it would have to be paid back.
The Minister urged students to make good use of the opportunity and not to put themselves in extra debts, neither should they let down the schools that have allowed them the opportunity to have instate tuition.
Source: St. Martin News Network
Government working on SLA for school bus drivers, negotiations still ongoing — Parents may have to purchase bus cards.