Law on higher education in Parliament by yearend | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–Government intends to follow the schedule for the completion of the law on higher education, which is expected to be finalized and submitted to parliament by the end of this year, Education Minister Wycliffe Smith said on Wednesday.

The finalisation of the ordinance on higher education is one of the conditions stipulated in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the former National Alliance-led government and University of St. Martin (USM) last year in an effort to keep the doors of the university open. In the MOU, government committed to making the ordinance on higher education available during the second half of this year. The MOU also outlines agreements with respect to financial audits and extra subsidy for USM for four months, amongst other things. Smith is a former member of the USM Board.

   “There was a time schedule for the law on higher education starting last year and the aim was to get it completed and in parliament by the end of this year 2018, and so that is still the schedule that we are following,” Smith said during the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday.

Before leaving office, former Education Minister Jorien Wuite had said the first draft of the higher education ordinance was available and was in the process of being finalized. Wuite said, at the time, that the draft ordinance had been “advancing rapidly” and informal consultations were expected to start with stakeholders by the end of March. The document was then scheduled to have been vetted by the Legal Affairs Department and the Council of Ministers was then going to make a decision on the draft.

Formal consultations were to be held with stakeholders such as USM, American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine and Social Economic Council SER, following which Legal Affairs would conduct its final vetting of the draft and the document would go back to the Council of Ministers for decision making. The draft would then be sent to the Council of Advice before it goes to Parliament for debate.

It could not be ascertained at which stage the process is currently.

Source: The Daily Herald