MARIGOT–Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture Silveria Jacobs was guest speaker at the official opening of International Rights of the Child Day hosted by the French side on Monday.
This year’s theme is “Educate me right so my future is bright.”
“Children must be taught morals and values to ensure they live up to their positive obligations to become well-rounded individuals,” she said in Hotel de la Collectivité. “We as adults have a responsibility to children. They are the ones who will bear the responsibility of what we do today.
“Education should not be just academic, not just books and learning, but include artistic development, development of sports, learning of culture and heritage to build the total child.
“As adults, we have the responsibility to do all we can to prepare children as productive citizens in the future, and creating optimal conditions for each child to exceed and succeed not only as children, but in their future aspirations, building confidence and the will and the drive to be the very best. That is our responsibility as educators.”
The Minister in her address disclosed the Dutch-side Education Department and a representative of the Information Technology (IT) Department recently returned from launching St. Maarten for the first time in the global network of learning cities in Beijing, China.
“This is very important we believe because it not only gives us an opportunity to upgrade our teachers, but to access free international on-line courses and to upgrade our entire government service and community with on-line courses,” she explained. ”For us it’s a great achievement.”
Also present for the opening were Préfète Déléguée Anne Laubies, Recteur’s representative Michel Sanz, Education Inspector Dominique Boyer, and Territorial Councillor Antero de Jesus Santos, who was representing the absent President Aline Hanson.
Classes of children from Aline Hanson Elementary School and Omer Arrondell School in French Quarter were present.
Sanz’s in his remarks put emphasis on continuing the fight against violence in the schools.
“Children also have the right to dream big and it is our responsibility to realise those dreams” he said.
Antero de Jesus Santos noted, “Integrity of children is not respected around the world.”
“We need to develop more programmes,” he said. “Some 30 per cent of the population in St. Martin is under 19 years of age. Parents must work with their children to teach them values from an early age, and our mission is to protect children.”
He disclosed 109 children went into special needs programmes in 2015, 66 families were assisted and 107 children received social and psychological assistance.
Préfète Laubies told the children present: “We are building your future and you are building it. You are our future. The challenge for us is to teach you to grow, to make choices, how to think and develop your opinions. This is the time of life you should be as happy as possible. Enjoy this week and show us the great things you can do.”
Presentations were made by different classes of Aline Hanson School for the dignitaries on themes from the Rights of the Child. Later in the garden of Hotel de la Collectivité children of Omer Arrondell School sang a song.
Activities on the Rights of the Child themes continue through November 30. Today, Tuesday, there is a discussion on Youth Radio 92.5FM at 2:15pm.