Minister Jacobs: Cooperation and collaboration is the order of the day

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PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Silveria Jacobs said in Wednesday’s January 4, Press Briefing, “that cooperation and collaboration is the order of the day and it has started already.”

She will be meeting with the Ministry of VROMI “in moving some of the projects that have been lagging behind where schools and reconstruction is concerned.”

Protocols and legislation that have been lagging behind in terms of protecting the youth, and working together to prevent them going astray, and collaborating budget wise will be established. “I’m happy to hear that and definitely will be able to save the country some money because I’ve been saying over and over in the past, we can continue to spend on incarceration and the like, but if we don’t spend on prevention, then that will continue to rise. Many talk about the large budget of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, but I believe that it is justified, because we must preserve the core of what we serve, which is the youth and that must be preserved for a future,” she stated.

She reiterated the call for the community, the people, the business community “as well as our visitors to work together to make sure that life on St. Maarten is not just sustainable, but that we can have a happy and good life, and I think we have all of the ingredients and if everybody has the same goal in mind, then we should definitely be able to move in that direction.”

She mentioned two such initiatives: St, Maarten Reads, which pushes for literacy on St. Maarten, and falls within the “Education on the Move” campaign, and SXMDoet, scheduled to be held March 10 & 11.

The Ministry is already working out their year plan objectives for 2017, focusing on strategic, global and general objectives within the governing program, which should be finalized by the end of January.

“We’ve seen in the past where the intention for collaboration is there, but actual execution sometimes falls behind and with everything else that’s going on, following up doesn’t always happen. So we’re looking on improving our collaboration internally as well as externally with other ministries, other organizations and strengthening those associations, who are out there receiving our subsidies and executing works that we are responsible for,” she continued.

She also mentioned expecting better reporting and accountability from organizations and entities that receive subsidies from Government.

Finally, she reminded study financing application applicants that the deadline for applications is January 16. She also explained that study financing was not necessarily a right, and draft laws governing that were being finalized. She encouraged students to work hard, maintain their grades, make use of opportunities and much success in pursuing their goals.

When asked for an updates on the situation with Leonald Conner, she stated there were no further updates at this time. “We are still in discussions with the entities, who pledged to assist us and they have promised me, and answered by the end of this week, and then as a Council of Ministers we have to then take the decision moving forward.”

“It is on the docket of the Council of Ministers, it is a priority for this Ministry and this government as well as for us in education to make sure that the school is at its best. Several of the schools are facing challenges, so with the Ministry and the Division of Public Education, we are looking at tackling those also. So to put those questions to rest, many of the challenges that exist are being addressed,” she concluded.