PHILIPSBURG—As St. Maarten students and teachers go back to school today, students are being challenged to “act responsibly” and remember they are ambassadors of their country everyday even when at home. This challenge was issued by leader of the One St. Maarten People Party Lenny Priest who also urges parents to remember that despite the moans and groans they may encounter from their children in getting them ready and from themselves as they deal with the road congestion that is part and parcel of the school run, that it is their civic duty as parents to educate their children.
“School is the place where children and indeed adults build their confidence, learn the value of teamwork and where knowledge is imparted that will set students on the trajectory of their lives. In today’s competitive job market it is difficult to find employment in many fields and more so if you do not have a recognized qualification. Talk to your children, ask them where they picture themselves in ten years and listen to their plans for getting there. Encourage them as much as possible and let them realize the value of the education they are receiving. They are now receiving access to new ideas, including science and language, and are given the opportunity to learn more about world cultures, geography, and personal history. These are all important as we build Country St. Maarten,” OSPP leader Lenny Priest said in a press release issued to mark the start of the 2016 school year.
The OSPP leader noted that getting children to school on time is also an important duty of a parent because this helps guide students to the establishment of a daily routine, which is of utmost importance as they are directed towards the workplace, and as they become productive members of society. “I want to also express my gratitude as a parent to our teachers, particularly those who are faced with teenaged students and their hormonal behavior daily, for their strength in choosing this profession and in their commitment to our children. We know that teenagers have a tendency to be dramatic, irrational and scream for seemingly no reason and sometimes can do what we in our wisdom view as stupid things. But I want to encourage the teachers to continue to exercise patience with them. I also want to challenge the students to act responsibly and to exercise patience so that this school year we will not have to hear constant police sirens in the areas of the schools. You are the future of this island that we are all proud to call home and I ask you to remember that you are an ambassador for St. Maarten every day and act accordingly.
As a political party we have been advocating that education must free. We were hoping that this 2016 school year the parents would have seen a reduction in the school fees of their children. However, our present government and members of parliament are not in favour of reducing the school fees. We know that many parents have it very difficult meeting the high cost of the school fee, buy new uniforms, shoes and some cases a new school bag. We are promising you that with an OSPP government education will be free.
We want to wish you all—teachers, students and parents—a productive and safe school year,” Lenny Priest concluded.