Ministry holds consultation with stakeholders for NRP

A scene during the consultation.

PHILIPSBURG–The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) held a consultation meeting on Monday for the Midterm Resilience.

  The aim of the meeting was to contribute to St. Maarten’s National Recovery Plan (NRP)  in the area of education, culture, youth and sport. Participating stakeholders included school boards, UNICEF, sporting organisations, culture and heritage foundations, day-care centres, youth organisations and representatives of the ECYS and other Ministries. The meeting consisted of a presentation and break-out sessions.

  ECYS Minister Silveria Jacobs addressed stakeholders, commending them on the progress made to reopen schools and provide care for staff, students and all those employed at the Ministry. She focused on the challenges ahead and the need to continue all priority recovery efforts in close consultation with partners to truly make use of the opportunity to build St. Maarten better and stronger, with an understanding of the key role education, culture, youth and sports play in the process.

  A presentation was given by Ministry Secretary-General Jorien Wuite during the first part of the meeting. The first part of the presentation focused on the strategy, with key international recognised elements such as resilience, protection, participation, preparedness, information communications technology (ICT) and communication.

  Resilience is the capacity of children, teachers, families and communities to anticipate and recover from shocks and threats such as hurricane Irma, it was stated in a press release.

  The need to protect students’, teachers’ and children’s psychosocial wellbeing, the protection of artefacts, education- culture- and sports facilities was stressed, as were the importance of community participation and partnerships, and the need for collection and sharing of information and communication to the public, to ensure preparedness and response systems such as safe school plans and education, culture, youth and sport facilities disaster management plans.

  The second part of the presentation focused on the prioritisation of the Ministry’s Midterm Resilience Plan within early, mid- and long-term recovery phases. Stakeholders were asked to use the key strategic elements and whether the priorities that focused on prioritisation within an early, mid- and long-term recovery phase.

  Stakeholders were asked whether the priorities that were summarised, based on the preliminary consultations, were accurate and covered projected expectations for urgent improvements before the next hurricane season and June 2019.

  In addition, the scope of impact and damages post-Irma and the current state and progress of Ministry were discussed.

  In the second half of the meeting, stakeholders were strategically grouped in break-out sessions to discuss and further sharpen critical priorities and the level of urgency for rebuilding within the next three to 12 months. The groups were given 45 minutes to propose critical issues.

  At the end of the break-out session, the consensus was to build more flexible and resilient school infrastructures and facilities, utilise existing local (retired) expertise and establish disaster preparedness and response (training) plans that will embody the physical, social and psychological wellbeing of students and staff within the education, youth and sport realm.  

  Stakeholders also expressed the need for continued partnerships and a recruitment programme for (local) teachers. Key suggestions to promote safety and security were brought forward to help the community, recognise, register and salvage cultural heritage, protect children and parents, promote use of innovative constructions and solutions, and to conduct trainings that will help citizens better identify child abuse or other anxiety symptoms taking place within the community.

  There is also a need to promote the importance of balancing work and family commitment and contributions to children’s needs and society.

  Participants agreed to focus on vulnerable groups in society and their needs. School boards agreed on the importance of afterschool programmes, special curriculum for environmental studies, (vocational) education, sport and artistic activities for youth and students, as well as active and responsible citizenship (i.e. against looting) and labour needs.

  Jacobs thanked stakeholders and the Ministry’ staff for the feedback and responses received. A follow-up meeting will be organised once the Midterm Resilience Plan advances to a final version that Jacobs will present and discuss with the workgroup for inclusion in the National Recovery Plan.

Source: The Daily Herald