PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — As a Member of Parliament and an advocate for education and youth, Angelique Romou has been keeping a keen eye on the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport. She has been offering her contribution in her capacity, to ensure that the Youth of St. Maarten receive all that they need to develop into well-rounded adults.
While conducting research by visiting the various schools and gathering information from teachers and other staff, it has been identified that schools do not have enough monies to purchase necessary materials for students. They are currently forced to purchase school materials for only one subject area each school year and the money does not cover the purchasing of sufficient textbooks and workbooks.
Before the hurricanes in 2017, the budget for school materials was upward of Naf. 700,000, but due to cost-cutting measures, this amount was reduced substantially. MP Romou emphasized that school materials have a direct impact on student’s performance, so having them in school without the necessary school materials could be detrimental to their education. Because of this, the MP found it prudent that this budget post is amended with an increase of Naf. 200,000.00 to serve the best interest of public school students so that they can receive all school materials that they deserve.
Besides school materials, MP Romou also focused on another very important issue, which is the School Breakfast Program at the public schools. Although there is currently a breakfast program being executed in collaboration with the Rotary Sunrise Club, it is heavily dependent and at the mercy of a public-private partnership. The Rotary Sunrise Club has been doing a tremendous job thus far. However, if they, unfortunately, become unable to continue the breakfast program, it would be completely in jeopardy. Therefore, it is imperative that this program be structured within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport, and reflected sufficiently in the budget. MP Romou hence amended the budget to allocate fls. 240,000.00 for a pilot breakfast program for public schools for 4 months.
In closing, MP Romou would like to thank all her colleague Members of Parliament for seeing the importance of her proposed budget amendments and for accepting them. “These are amendments that will directly impact our public school students. With 6 public schools on the island, which include our students with special needs – we owe it to them to give them what they need in education. We can’t fix it all in one day but we can make strides in the right direction” the MP concluded.