Jacobs says hiring school board staff not up to her

PHILIPSBURG–Education Minister Silveria Jacobs says the details of hiring of personnel at the various school boards are not within her authority.

She was at the time, responding to questions posed by The Daily Herald regarding concerns being expressed about alleged nepotism over the renewal of her daughter’s contract for three years at the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA), and the letting go of a NIPA faculty member.

Jacobs said several statements have been made about “the minister’s daughter” in connection with personnel matters at the institution. “While I have clarified more than once concerning my authority in school boards and their HR matters, this statement pertaining to nepotism continues to be used without regard for the persons involved.

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“My daughter, who is also a local born and raised, has earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing at the Haagse Hogeschool and worked as a nurse at the SMMC [St. Maarten Medical Center, Ed]. She applied at the AVE [Advanced Vocational Education], was interviewed by a panel of three management staff and recommended by said professionals to the AVE board to be hired on a temporary contract from February till July 2017. She has been teaching the Registered Nurse (4), Licensed Practical Nurse LPN (3) and Care (3) classes and has been evaluated by her superiors, after which she received a positive recommendation by the management to the Board to be hired for an extended contract.”

Jacobs said all of this information should have been confidential between her daughter and her employer. “However, because this young lady was bad lucky enough to be born to a mother who is in a public position her confidential information is leaked to the media in an attempt to discredit her abilities as a professional. Several other professionals at the school have also received extended contracts and all HR matters should remain as confidential to protect the employees,” she noted.

She stressed that the usage of employees’ names to highlight alleged wrongdoings towards them also serves to put unnecessary light on their issues that she is sure they would prefer to keep confidential as they move forward with their respective careers. “In an attempt to defend one professional, there is absolutely no need to throw rocks at another,” she said.

The minister said she hoped that her comments clarified the matter and that her daughter can continue to work in peace adding “or is it so that she will never be deemed qualified to work due to her biological ties to the current Minister of Education.”

The minister said each school board can take decisions as to their Human Resource (HR) matters within the confines of the law. “As far as I have been informed they have done so. The details of hiring of personnel at the various school boards are not within my authority. The Division of Exams evaluates diplomas and degrees and the Inspectorate issues dispensation to those who are not in possession of a teaching certificate when such is requested for a maximum of two years after which the instructors/teachers should be in possession of a teaching certificate besides their other professional qualifications,” she said.

Jacobs said as a subsidy recipient, the AVE board, as all other school boards, is held responsible for the funds it receives and must cooperate with the Department of Education and the Inspectorate of Education. The Inspectorate, she added, has been doing its due diligence at the school since 2015, and the Ministry has received regular reports in this regard. All reports and recommendations are shared with the board, and the board has pledged to work on the areas of communication which was deemed lacking at the time, or more timely information to teachers and staff to alleviate anxiety pertaining to their continuity at the institution or not.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/68190-jacobs-says-hiring-school-board-staff-not-up-to-her

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