~ Focus on education system, transitioning to high schools and careers~
CAY HILL,Sint Maarten — The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs, held an informative session entitled: “Transitioning to Secondary School and Beyond,” for parents of sixth graders attending the two campuses of Christian Hillside Schools.
This session was requested by school officials after SSSD held informative sessions as part of their “Aim High” Project for sixth graders of all the elementary schools on the island, in the second half of last year.
The Aim High Project informed sixth graders about the importance of the primary school exit examinations in relation to the secondary schools that they will end up attending and their subsequent possible career choices. The students were also informed about the various academic and vocational secondary schools on the island and were encouraged to do well in school.
SSSD’s staff highlighted the importance of having a positive attitude and how it relates to performance in school and reaching their full potential.
Over 50 parents attended the information session evening where they received information about the difference between academic and vocational education, and some changes in the educational system over the years. The parents were shown how systems such as MAVO (junior general secondary education), ETAO (economics, tourism and administrative education), LTS (lower technical education) and BVO (pre-vocational education) were fused and became VSBO/PSVE (Preparatory Secondary Vocational Education), with its three streams, and the Vocational Training School.
The parents were also explained about the educational system, which includes primary, secondary and tertiary education. Links from each system, to further education as well as to the job market were outlined. An overview of systems and their various tracks was given.
Mr. Chance, Career Guidance Counselor at SSSD, emphasized to parents the importance of their involvement in their child’s education. He further explained that the choice of secondary school may make a difference for a child’s career path, for example it could be difficult for a student in the vocational system to eventually become a medical doctor because of the science and other educational requirements.
An overview of the CXC (Caribbean Examination Council) system was given. This system as well as the CAPE and A-levels in relation to higher education is a requirement for many universities in England and Canada, who use it for admittance criteria. He also outlined how diploma holders of secondary school education (VSBO, HAVO, VWO and CXC) can be granted access to further education.
The session concluded with parents being given tips on how to help their child start exploring their career options from early and how parents can help maximize their child’s potential by being more involved in their child’s life and interests.
Based on the success of this initiative, the management of Hillside Christian Schools has requested that SSSD repeat the session for parents of the next group of sixth graders in the new school year.
SSSD provides many services to students. Some services include; psychological, counseling, social work, educational diagnostic, career and parent education.
SSSD’s office is located in the Amigo Building, across from the Police Station next to the Windward Islands Bank (WIB) in Philipsburg.