Education Minister Silveria Jacobs with representatives of some of the schools and school boards that picked up their laptops yesterday.
POND ISLAND–Education Minister Silveria Jacobs handed over more than 200 HP laptops on Wednesday to representatives of the various schools and school boards in St. Maarten and to the various foundations that receive subsidy directly under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (ECYS).
The laptops were given out during a brief ceremony at the new Government Administration Building. All schools in the country have received between five and nine laptops, depending on their size, while the subsidised foundations received two laptops each.
The foundations that received laptops include National Institute for Arts (NIA), National Sports Institute (NSI), the Foundation for Early Childhood Development, St. Maarten Monument Council, Philipsburg Jubilee Library and St. Maarten Youth Council Association, which received two laptops for the association and two for its afterschool programme. The Belvedere Community Foundation and Oranje School also received two laptops each for their afterschool programmes.
School boards also received cleaning materials and classroom materials such as filing cabinets, pens, lined paper, glue sticks and many more items teachers can use.
The supplies distributed were part of the supplies requested by school boards after assessments were made post-Hurricane Irma. The supplies were sent via the Karel Doorman through the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science in the Netherlands. The supplies are to assist in the recovery and bouncing back of local schools.
Jacobs said the donated items are necessary, as schools lost many of these items during the storm. “And if we are going to move forward, especially looking at 21st-century learning, we wanted to give schools especially the laptops,” she said.
Giving five to nine laptops per school would ensure that school management, administrative staff and care teams will be equipped with laptops for their work, as well as having one laptop per cycle so that teachers can use them.
“We are moving towards a technological world and we need to start digitalising our documents and archive database. The use of laptops in the offices will assist in creating digital files and allow easier storage of information in the event of a natural disaster, as well as allow remote use of the laptop wherever situated. The workers at the New Government Building were able to resume work more efficiently with the help of laptops and desktops. We were only in need of electricity to power up the devices and Internet access to access other resources and archived files,” she said.
Following the passing of Hurricane Irma, many of the public schools sustained damage, in particular the top floors of the buildings. Many of the air-conditioning units are non-functional, so the Indian Merchants Association (IMA) saw it necessary to also donate 157 Lasko standing fans to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, and by extension the Public Education Division.
The standing fans were presented to Jacobs and Public Education Division head Glenderlin Holiday on Wednesday. Jacobs expressed her gratitude to the IMA representatives for the donation to the schools and her wishes to have more businesses and communities adopt a school as part of the Education on the Move campaign. The fans will be distributed to public schools today, Thursday.
Rafel Skeete, a local baseball hero and member of the Piper Davis Group, a baseball group based in the United States that travelled to St. Maarten and hosted a baseball camp, also donated relief goods that will be distributed specifically to single mothers or fathers of student athletes. The intention is to touch base with various sporting organisations to determine the need within the membership. Once the information has been obtained, a date and time will be forthcoming for distribution.
The remainder of the school and office supplies, which are being housed at L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium, will be distributed on Thursday and Friday, November 23 and 24. All school board representatives have been made aware of all the requirements and time slots for picking up the supplies.
Jacobs thanked stakeholders, specifically the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science in the Netherlands, the Piper Davis Group, IMA and all other organisations that donated items. A number of additional groups and organisations have pledged their support.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/71201-more-than-200-laptops-and-supplies-given-to-schools