UNESCO approves $50,000 for materials for public education

PHILIPSBURG–The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has approved US $50,000 for the purchasing of learning materials for public education in St. Maarten that received damage during hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The learning materials to be purchased include textbooks, workbooks and physical education materials and will be from different subject areas from the curriculum such as English and Dutch language, arts, science and physical education.

The text books are needed because the damaged books and materials were being used for more than 12 years; stated a press release on Wednesday. “This grant will now facilitate the process of obtaining learning materials in line with the 21st century skills,” such as collaboration and team work, creativity and imagination, critical thinking and problem solving.

It was decided to look at different texts from two publishing companies that the Division Public Education has been working with. A comparison was made between the former editions and newly developed programmes. Besides ensuring that the content in each text offered a clear understanding of the skills and concepts to be taught, the textbooks selected also had to meet the criteria of developing the 21st century skills of students. Each textbook emphasises the integration of technology to enrich the learning of the students.

The Macmillan Caribbean texts were selected for both English language and Science. In addition, the Dutch programme, Netherlands Onder the Zon was selected for students aged 8 to12 years. The programme is specifically to teach Dutch as a foreign language. The Dutch language used in the programme focuses on the daily life experiences of students in the Caribbean and should intrinsically motivate the children to speak, read, write and listen to the Dutch language, the release said.

Since 2017, public school teachers have been participating in training programmes for teaching Dutch as a foreign language. The teachers expressed “great interest” in the programme and were “eagerly looking forward to the continuation of these training which unfortunately had to be halted due to the passing of the hurricane and the delay in the receipt of the ordered programme. It should be noted that other schools on the island have already started to use this new programme.”

Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Jorien Wuite and the Division Public Education thanked UNESCO for “this generous donation,” which will enable the Division to purchase these learning materials for Dutch and the other subjects.

“Although this substantial grant from UNESCO allows public education to acquire much needed learning materials, more funds will still be needed in order for the Division Public Education to continue its efforts of providing quality education and instruction to the students entrusted to its care,” the release said.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/73933-unesco-approves-50-000-for-materials-for-public-education