~ Welcomes 260 students Monday ~
SOUTH REWARD–St. Maarten Vocational Training School (SMVTS) is bursting at its seams and is facing serious spacing issues as the construction of the four new classrooms that were expected to be available to accommodate students, has been stalled for about a year.
The school welcomed 260 students on Monday and there is a waiting list of about 40 students who are seeking placement. Students who did not get placement elsewhere are amongst those on the waiting list and it includes students from All Children’s Education (ACE) Foundation.
SMVTS Director Rita Bourne-Gumbs said the construction of the classes had begun sometime back, but work stopped about a year ago. She said the shortage of classroom space forces the school to sometimes send students home before 1:00pm, because there is simply no space to accommodate them. “We would like to keep all of our students in school at least until 1:00pm,” she said noting that this reduces the risk of them getting into trouble.
The Director said the classrooms are desperately needed and she would love to see the work started soon so that they can become available sooner rather than later.
In terms of plans for this school year, she said the school will aggressively pursue encouraging parents to play a bigger role in the education of their children in an effort to help students be more serious about their education and learning. Bourne-Gumbs said parents are not sufficiently involved. She is hoping that with more parental involvement and encouragement of students, that their mindset will change and the image of the school improved.
Currently, there are many students who believe that the school is an easy one to complete and that they can get promoted without putting in the effort. She said, however, that every student who attends the school must learn something before they graduate. “Students have to know that success comes with hard work. Some students think that they can be promoted by not doing anything due to the stigma that faces the school,” she said. “But this is not the case. All students must work to be promoted.”
She said, while all may not learn at the same academic level, every child can learn. The Director said she is often proud of what students at the school produce when they use their hands. She believes that starting at the elementary level will also help with the success of SMVTS.
Bourne-Gumbs also said that all positions have been filled and teachers are motivated and reenergized to educate students. Different teams will be formed to promote different things at the institution during the school year.