University of St. Martin President Dr. Antonio Carmona Báez (right) after signing an MOU with a representative of The Hague University of Applied Sciences on Thursday.
POND ISLAND–With hopes of creating joint degree programmes in Business Administration and other areas of study, University of St. Martin (USM) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS) on Thursday, to formalise an intention on institutional collaboration.
The agreement, initiated by former USM President Francio Guadeloupe prior to Hurricane Irma in 2017, was originally intended to serve as the basis of a 2+2 programme whereby students from St. Maarten would complete two years at USM and then move to The Hague to complete their degrees.
Dr. Antonio Carmona Báez has pushed for negotiations on joint courses and degree programmes since taking on the USM presidency in 2018.
“We are currently developing a course on Contemporary Caribbean Business which will be available to Dutch students as well. We look forward to collaboration and exchange of students and faculty,” said Carmona in a media statement.
This agreement would not only allow St. Maarteners to go to the Netherlands for one year of study and/or internships, but also encourage them to return and complete their degrees in St. Maarten and search for jobs at home.
The so-called “brain-drain” which St. Maarten and other Caribbean countries suffer is thought to be mitigated by this sort of collaboration that is supported by the Cabinet of St. Maarten’s Minister Plenipotentiary and encouraged by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science OCW.
THUAS, also known as de Haagse Hogeschool, offers English-language undergraduate Bachelor of Arts and graduate Master of Arts degrees that attract many students from the Caribbean side of the Kingdom.
USM Business Department head Jan van Beek and International Business Administration Programme Director Rogier Busser expressed satisfaction with the signing of the MOU.
“The time has come to formalise relations between two very important partners in tertiary education. Today, we are looking at Business, tomorrow we can look at other areas of study, like Safety and Security and Public Management,” said Van Beek.
The signing of the MOU took place at the St. Maarten House and was witnessed by Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite, OCW Caribbean Desk Director Aldrik in het Hout, USM President Carmona and Caribbean historian and THUAS strategic advisor Anna Maria Andriol.