MP Lake Commends USM Management and Board on reaching milestone with first accredited program. Wants Governments Recognition

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – University of St. Martin (USM) announced on Friday that it received accreditation of its Hospitality and Tourism Management programme by Business and Technology Education Council in the United Kingdom (BTEC).

BTEC accredited degrees are recognized in the US and in Europe.  This is the first programme under the USM to be accredited.

USM also received “recognition” from American Hotel and Lodging Association, and that USM will be the third institution in the Caribbean to offer courses from American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute, especially in the North Eastern Caribbean where personnel from American hotels can come to upgrade their skills.

“It’s high time that our Government recognize USM in writing based on our Government Program. USM was recognized in writing by its Founders the late Dr. Claude Wathey and Ambassador H. Anasary, and the previous Executive Council of St. Maarten.

“All USM needs from Government is an updated letter stating that our Government recognizes them so they can continue to work on other accreditation agreements which will benefit our young people who study at USM.  This would also promote more young people wanting to study at our locally home-grown institution of higher learning.

“If your own Government does not recognize USM, how can one expect the youths, the future business and political leaders of Sint Maarten; who will also be the ones to continue to develop our Sint Maarten, take USM serious if the Government of the land does not want to recognize our own university.

“The first thing when you do business abroad with other accredited Universities, the first thing they ask you is ‘are you recognized by your Government?’  I find it “simply amazing” that we question our own National University based on content while others recognize our own before us. We have to change that trend by starting to recognize our own institutions, and supporting our local professionals.

“USM has to also start promoting their alumni association whose members hold key positions in the private and public sectors of Sint Maarten.  The majority of the students who graduate and further their studies, excel abroad at any University or Ivy League institution.  You can go anywhere from USM, but you have to start promoting in order to change the image of the University.

“As a Member of Parliament, I have brought this topic up within my faction. I also brought it up several months ago in our parliamentary educational committee where the committee sat with the Minister of Education and the University of St. Martin, and Government stated that they will recognize the University and increase funding in their subsidy to USM on the 2015 Budget.

“I was very happy to hear this news from our Government but we can start recognizing the University in writing right away because they need to continue their work towards accreditation which only benefits our youth who will study at our own accredited institution of higher learning. Other institutions abroad in the United States of America and in Europe see the content and curriculum is as good as theirs, so let’s recognize our own.

“The board and management of USM are trying their best and have to be diplomatic when dealing with Government.  Recognition of USM is in the Governing Program.  It’s the little important things that make a big difference.  We need to set priorities, and the recognition of USM should be a priority.  I can address it in the House of Parliament by presenting a motion for Government to recognize USM within 30-days.  The sooner we recognize the better.

“I am very passionate about USM because I see the potential for USM to grow into one of the best in the Caribbean and being an educational hub for the North Eastern Caribbean,” United People’s (UP) party Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday.