PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs Silveria Jacobs gave an update on some of the matters her ministry is busy with in Wednesday’s, February 22, Council of Ministers Press Briefing.
She mentioned, the Division Education Innovations (DEI) I Am King stakeholders meetings that took place Thursday, February 23, and Friday, February 24, in collaboration with the Department of Youth Affairs.
The first I Am King stakeholder session was held at the NIPA. “This stakeholder session aims to facilitate dialogue between key stakeholders in the community as it relates to male empowerment and to devise a forward on how we as a community can empower our men right here on St. Maarten,” Minister Jacobs said.
“The outcome of this action will be a plan devised collectively by the stakeholders on the male empowerment to 17 and beyond. This will be a two-day session catering to approximately 50 representatives from various schools and organizations on the island and are engaged in male empowerment or in contact with young males on a regular basis,” the Minister explained.
The stakeholder session is a conclusion of a trilogy of events for I Am King where prevalent issues were discussed.
Minister Jacobs also mentioned that the iStep program continues to be underway. The local competition has been completed, and the winners will be announced via their Facebook page.
“The training, which was held last week hosted by Ed Tech teacher for management and teachers at NIPA, February 13 and 14 are deemed a success, not just from the trainer’s point of view, but specifically from those who took part in these trainings,” the Minister elaborated.
The training was divided into a three-day management training and two-day teacher training. Tom Daccord, Director and co-founder of Ed Tech Teacher, flew to the island to give the five-day workshop. “Currently iStep is taking all necessary steps to bring the St. Maarten classrooms into the 21st century, one school, one teacher, one student at a time,” she said.
In relation to the rights of the child, in collaboration with the Youth Department of the Ministry, the St. Maarten Promoting Young Ambassadors foundation has been organizing a presentation on the articles of the Rights of the Child.
“Usually this starts in November, but we’re happy to say that it wasn’t just a one-month celebration of the rights. It continues through to today. And this year the focus will be on a movie that depicts the theme, seeing that it is ‘Educate Me Right.’…The movie ‘Queen of Katwe’ has been selected as a movie of this year’s theme and it will promote the ministry’s objective on Education on the Move,” Minister Jacobs explained.
The showing of the movie is open to the public and will take place at the Belair Community Center on February 24, from 4:00pm to 7:00pm.
Student Support Services Division within Ministry “aspires to educate both parents and students about academic opportunities available in Canada.” Therefore they are conducting a workshop entitled “college or university 101 – the Canadian system.” This will be held on February 28, at the Student Support Services offices from 5:30pm to 6:30pm above the Gatsby Store across from the police station. Any persons interested in attending can contact the SSS office at 543-1235 to reserve a spot.
Student Support Services also offers to schools and school boards, workshops or trainings. Sr. Borgia School recently made use of this, and “they presented a workshop on the dangers of the Internet and the effect on technology on students.” The SSD counselors did this for the 5th and 6th grade students and their parents. Those sessions were held last Wednesday, February 15.
The Minister wrapped up by stating that, “There are several issues still pending. I do not deem it necessary at this point to go into details on things that are being investigated, that are still not finalized. We are currently still working on the committee that has to give me the advice in terms of how we move forward within the structure of Public Education, and so these are all things that are being worked out within the Department.”
“I do understand that some may be impatient as to the result, but until the reports have been finalized, I cannot take any other steps. In the meantime we continue to encourage the teachers, management, etc., to remain open in communication, and to continue to let us know where bottlenecks appear,” Minister Jacobs concluded.