SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - With the decision by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport to reverse its previous decision to implement in-class education as per August 10th, the aforementioned factions consider it pivotal that the Minister expounds on these decisions as well as the steps going forward, according to a statement from the UD on Wednesday.
In explaining his previous position to re-start in-class education, the minister had listed a number of factors, critical to the success of in-class education as well as the role of stakeholders in this process.
It would appear from the suddenly announced change back to on-line education by the Minister, that conditions and factors to successfully and safely revert back to physical in-class education are not in place. Despite its own plans, the Education Ministry has had to also contend with the recent surge of Covid-19 cases, that continues to mount.
This calls for an even closer monitoring of the plans and steps to revert back to in-class education for our students and calls for strict coordination with the Health and Economic Affairs ministries.
Since the request for this meeting was submitted by the 3 factions, Parliament has been provided with the “Sint Maarten’s Plan for Education Continuity Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic”.
While such a plan is surely welcome, the application of these guidelines and the required resources are key factors in returning to some degree of normalcy and continuity. Whichever route is taken for the foreseeable future, be it in-class, online or a combination of these two, we have to assess how best to confront the challenges in collaboration with not only the education policy makers, but equally so with parents, teachers and students.
There is also another important link in managing education and that is the wellbeing of our students abroad in these uncertain times. How do we assure that these students are provided with support and guidance, if required?
The UD, USP and PFP factions wish to note that their request for a meeting has resulted in an urgent meeting on the state of education with the Minister of ECYS on Thursday, August 6, 2020 to address the following agenda points:
1.Decisions regarding the opening of the school year 2020/2021 per August 10, 2020 and the preparedness of schools to start the schoolyear.
2.St. Maarten students abroad in general and those traveling to the Netherlands this week in particular.