PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Silveria Jacobs addressed the Council of Ministers Press briefing on Wednesday, May 10.
“The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports and government of St. Maarten has been dealt a severe blow…as we would like to extend to the family, friends and colleagues of the late Mr. Neville York, who served as Department head of Culture, our deepest and sincerest condolences,” Minister Jacobs began.
She asked the “general public to bear in mind that this had been a tremendous blow to the Ministry and to have a bit of patience with us as we regroup.”
The Ministry is currently collaborating with family to ensure that York has a fitting home going ceremony.
In news from the Division Public Education, in a collaborative effort between Student Support Services and the Public Education Division, Glenderlin Davis-Holiday along with Olga Service-Mussington, both department heads together with Head of the St. Maarten Vocational Training School Rita Bourne-Gumbs and another colleague left for Jamaica on Tuesday, for the 3rd annual International Conference on Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET). The theme of this conference is: “Technical Vocational Education and Training for Sustainable Regional Development.”
The objective of this conference is to create an advocacy platform for integrating sustainable principles in regional TVET policies, practices, and programmes. The purpose, with regard to the Ministry, is to develop and present a suitable program for approval that can fit within the policy options for the highest standards for vocational education that is currently being developed.
Minister Jacobs also noted that exams have started for secondary schools this week. She wished students much success, and thanked all teachers, and parents who have invested the time and effort to make sure that “our students are ready for these weeks of exams.”
“We know that the last stretch of the race is always the toughest, and weighs the heaviest. So do not lose focus now. Continue to focus, push harder than you’ve ever been,” she encouraged.
Minister Jacobs also addressed a false report of school being closed due to heavy rainfall. “Just today I saw some notices going out that there was no school due to rain yesterday, and I think people should be very cognizant of the damage that they can do with sending out erroneous messages. They actually stated that I had said that. Any official messages will come through the Ministry, and I would then copy paste them to my page if necessary. So many who knew that, took it as a hoax that it was, but imagine if students who had exams this morning had taken that message as serious and missed their exams. You know the repercussions could be very weighty for them. So please in making your jokes and pranks, know the time and place for those,” She warned.
Additionally, next week the Foundation-Based exit exams will commence with elementary schools, “and so I also asked the parents, teachers and students to be diligent, vigilant in keeping their students ready, making sure they stay encouraged. It can be quite emotionally and draining for the students, and it’s a first time for them as well so keep them encouraged,” she said.
Minister Jacobs, since Monday, have been visiting the public schools to encourage 6th graders and to get a view of what is going on within the schools. She has visited so far, Leonald Conner, Martin Luther King Jr., and Marie Genevieve de Weever Schools.
In regard to Carnival 2017, “Reviewing and listening to some reports after the Carnival season, as Minister of Culture I am receiving lots of positive feedback from the community, which is appreciated, in the way that we have done our best to collaborate with all the stakeholders, including the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation, the police, to maintain safety and security for especially our youth.”
“There have been minimal reports of the violence that usually plagues our Carnival and even though it was much larger, the police reported on the news that there were much less fights, much less fines given out, and that there were also less underage youngsters in our celebrations that are geared towards adults. So even though at the onset we were a bit wary as to whether it would have an effect or not, I do believe us coming out in public and stating clearly what are the rules, and parents taking responsibility for their children, that with each year we will see an improvement in this and we will continue to strive together with the Carnival Development Foundation together with our cultural icons to promote especially the cultural aspects of Carnival,” Minister Jacobs stated.
“We are happy to see that on the economic side that Carnival was very successful. We still have a lot to do to continue to promote the cultural aspects, and we have pledged to also support the particular aspects that we find important in this venture, and we hope to be able to do hopefully together with the SCDF, a joint prize-giving ceremony where we can honor those cultural aspects,” the Minister stated.