Great Bay/Philipsburg – The St. Maarten Development Movement (S.D.M.), launches its plan on education in the hope that it will stimulate debate in the community about where we need to take this important sector. The key facets of the plan are improving the curriculum, improving the quality of teachers and school buildings, creating more activities for students, and ensuring that all students whether leaving or staying in St. Maarten can afford to pay for their tuition and materials. The basis of the plan is SDM’s belief that education empowers people so they can take up job opportunities and participate in building national consciousness.
The movement will explore the use of providing remedial programs in English and Mathematics and sees the importance of creating more technical programs to train plumbers, mechanics, electricians, and general contractors, implementing a better system for job training or creating a new apprenticeship system, and stimulating after-school programs at schools, community centers, and sports facilities.
“We see education as a means to develop a qualified workforce that is also community minded. That is why we intend to balance upgrading existing buildings, while researching the need for new facilities; why we balance training teachers to manage their classrooms better, while stimulating students to participate in school clubs and volunteering during their weekends, especially since this also helps give our young people tangible skills,” the movement’s political leader Benjamin Ortega stated.
One of SDM’s recent press releases on ‘Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life’ rather than ‘give a man a fish and he will eat for a day’, furthermore illustrated the importance of empowering our people to become self-sufficient and how that will eventually contribute to eradicating poverty in St. Maarten.
The movement’s integrated plan on education was, primarily, drafted by Rosemary Richardson, who brought her own ideas to SDM’s draft manifesto. She also took the time to listen to fellow members of the movement, and, more importantly, to members of the public who attended one of SDM’s recent district meetings.
“Being a teacher at two levels – both secondary and tertiary – furthermore gives me insight in how our education system works on a day to day basis. Through my studies in business, with a particular focus on accounting, I am conscious that any future Parliament, and Council of Ministers, using the instruments at their disposal will have to work with the school boards, and even businesses, to ensure that our education system offers students limitless possibilities to satisfy their intellectual curiosity, while learning the value of giving back to their country. All this while making processes more efficient and finding ways to cut costs,” Richardson stated.
She added, “St. Maarten has spent quite a bit of time positioning ourselves to be an economic leader in the region, especially in tourism, and the very basis of our leadership is the people. Parliament and government, therefore, have a responsibility to ensure that we develop our people to their maximum potential so that we continue to grow and keep our people employed; that we show them that education opens a limitless number of possibilities for their personal growth, and for our collective development as a nation; and that a well-educated and rounded population will always take a prominent place in every respect in this country.”
Copies of the plan will be made available on the party’s Facebook page: St. Maarten Development Movement – SDM or by sending an email to: [email protected]/* */.
Source: Daily Herald
The St. Maarten Development Movement Launches plan on integrated education