PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Silveria Jacobs gave an update on the situation at the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) in Wednesday’s, June 21, Council of Ministers Press Briefing.
“The inspector did visit the school on that and spoke with teachers, management and staff, students there and were able to submit a report to me. They also met with the board of the AVE Foundation, and gave their recommendations. Many of the recommendations were already on the action plan of the Board,” Minister Jacobs informed.
“Subsequent to that, all the stakeholders who have appointed members to the board met together with the board to receive clarity on the goings on, and I think we had a very fruitful meeting, and we’ll be issuing a joint press release as stakeholders. So not necessarily from the Minister of Education, but all stakeholders, namely the Chamber of Labour Unions, the Chamber of Commerce, FAVE which is the St. Maarten Academy School Board and Sundial’s school board SVOBE, who all appointed people to the board,” the Minister continued.
“We’ve received quite some information. Several of the issues that they’re faced with are personnel issues, which I’m not going to get into. The Ministry Inspectorate also reported on recommendations moving forward where that is concerned, but we as a stakeholder, once our press release is out then there would be much more clarity,” she said.
“I believe we should focus on maintaining an environment where a lot of the negativity hurts the institution more than it helps. We as a government are open. We’re here every week for questioning if anyone has issues and complaints to school. Even after the last set of issues we established a Student Government Association. They have a road to follow to make complaints,” the Minister further explained.
“The Labour unions, while they had a member on the board, they are now assessing whether they want to have a member on the board or whether they just want to function as a kind of advisor to the board, based on the labor situations arm. So all of that is being looked at, and the goal of the Institute remains first and foremost on all our minds and in moving forward, we would like to hope that those with complaints use a regular mode of communication, and if they have letters that they would like to write to the Minister, the Minister has an address right here at the government building,” Minister Jacobs stated.
“We have e-mail addresses and we have the Department of Education that also meets monthly with all school boards on St. Maarten. At this time of the year each school board is tasked to evaluate performance, and take the necessary steps moving forward in the best interest of their institutions. Why we continue to shine this negative light on an institution that has so much to give to the youth and adult working population is beside me. We are doing all we can to make sure everything happens in the correct order,” the Minister concluded.