“Teen Times” editor Lavisha Dadlani (third left) submitting its request to MP Melissa Gumbs (fourth left) on Saturday. Other “Teen Times” members are also in the photo.
~ Asks PFP to facilitate ~
PHILIPSBURG–Members of youth publication Teen Times have requested that the Party for Progress (PFP) faction in Parliament take “whatever steps it deems necessary” to facilitate the inclusion of St. Maarten history in the secondary school curriculum.
The group presented PFP leader and Member of Parliament (MP) Melissa Gumbs with its official request during its weekly team meeting on Saturday.
Teen Times said it is aware that Parliament has an education committee, but chose PFP to present its request because of the party’s “young core and forward-thinking approaches.”
The group wants PFP to push the request through the “correct channels and take whatever steps the faction deems necessary to determine what such an effort would require.”
After PFP is clear about a path, Teen Times would like to see “serious effort put towards such an initiative, even if it means involving the Ministry and minister of Education, using the expertise available at the ministry with the involvement of necessary third parties and experts.”
Teen Times believes that adding the country’s history to the school curriculum is a priority for young people.
“For far too long we have sat back and watched our young people inundated with this history of Europe and, in some schools, of the United States. While we believe this is also necessary and do not want to diminish the importance of global history, only in very limited instances on the primary school level is anything about St. Maarten’s history actually taught.
“Our students therefore lack valuable knowledge of their history as compared to their peers in the wider Caribbean, in particular on the secondary school level,” said Teen Times.
The group suggested that some schools can host a pilot project whereby the curriculum’s implementation could be assessed, and emphasised that any implementation should include thorough planning, teacher training and project monitoring and assessment.
The group also said changes to the country’s education laws may be required to implement the curriculum.
“We believe that before a young person can optimally elevate our country in various fields, said young person must know their history and appreciate their past to fully embrace their future. This education of their history, the country’s history, should start within the schools. …
“We do not expect this project to be completed overnight, but we must make it a national project and, after years of talk, we must make a start for the sake of our children and for the love of St. Maarten,” said Teen Times.
“PFP is honoured that Teen Times selected us to receive this important request,” said Gumbs in an invited comment on Sunday night. “With all the discussion surrounding our young country, such as where we’ve come from and where we want to go, we believe it is critical that this [request – Ed.] be handled as an urgent item for education.”
Gumbs also said that her faction intends to “bring it to the table as a point of discussion for Parliament, with the minister of education, culture, youth and sport.”