PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Wycliffe Smith submitted his report on the Cochabamba Regional Conference of ministers of education from Latin America and the Caribbean to Parliament and the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, 1 August 2018. The trip, which was paid for and organized by UNESCO, was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, from July 25-26, 2018. In keeping with recent budgets cuts, Minister Smith was happy to be able to attend these important high level meetings without it being a financial burden to the country.
The meetings were convened to discuss the way forward concerning the UN 2030 Education agenda, which is a plan to promote the development and quality of education by the year 2030. Smith also participated in some high-level technical meetings for the leadership of Departments of Education prior to the beginning of the conference.
From those discussions, Smith made a presentation at the ministerial conference concerning the challenges of education on Sint Maarten, being part of a small twin-island nation. Smith highlighted two major challenges: the lack of human capacity and insufficient funds. He also established contact with colleague ministers of Aruba, Suriname and Antigua.
At the end of the Cochabamba Conference, all ministers signed an agreement which “establishes the adoption of the Regional Roadmap for the Implementation of SDG4-E2030 in Latin America and the Caribbean, an instrument that will support the countries’ efforts to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 4, which refers to lifelong quality, inclusive, equitable education.”
Minister Smith in his report indicated how the policies and goals of the Governing Program must be aligned with the Regional Roadmap for Sint Maarten to be on target with the internationally-agreed goals for education by 2030. It is expected that there will be collaboration and strengthening of the relevant departments, divisions and ministries to ensure that lifelong learning will be afforded to all on Sint Maarten.