PHILIPSBURG – UNESCO has approved $50,000 for the purchasing of learning materials for Public Education that were damaged by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.
The learning materials that are being referred to are: textbooks, workbooks, and physical education materials. The learning materials are from the different subject areas from the national curriculum such as: English and Dutch language arts, science, and physical education.
The reasons why the texts books are needed was that the damaged books and materials were in used for over a 12-year period. This grant will now facilitate the process of obtaining learning materials in line with the 21st century skills. These skills are namely: 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 the newly developed programs. Besides ensuring that the content in each text offered a clear understanding of the skills and concepts to be taught, the text books selected also had to meet the criteria of developing the 21st century skills of the students. Each text book emphasis the integration of technology to enrich the learning of the students.
The Macmillan Caribbean texts was selected for both English language and Science. In addition, the Dutch program, Netherlands onder the zon was selected for students age groups, 8-12 years. The program is specifically to teach Dutch as a foreign language. This approach is needed on St. Maarten as Dutch is not commonly heard, seen or spoken. The Dutch language used in the program is focused on the daily life experiences of the students in the Caribbean and should intrinsically motivate the children to speak, read, write and listen to the Dutch language.
Since 2017, Public School teachers have been participating in a training for teaching Dutch as a foreign language. The teachers expressed great interest with the program 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 program. It should be noted that other schools on the island have already started to use this new program.
Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Jorien Wuite, and the Division Public Education would like to thank 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.