50 percent fewer children at non-subsidized schools

POSTED: 09/17/11 3:20 PM

GREATBAY– At least one school that is not subsidized by the Government of St. Maarten has seen its student population drop by roughly 50 percent since compulsory education was implemented. Claire Elshot, who is the director of All Children Education (ACE), said the vast majority of their students have been able to find places at public schools because of the ongoing registration to get children into the public or subsidized schools. The evidence of the migration is that schools like ACE are getting smaller and subsidized and public schools have added classrooms in order to cope with the increased population.

Even though there are fewer students Elshot said challenges like providing a proper basic education to the students still remains. One of the biggest issues is that children who register are not able to read and/or write in their mother tongue or in English.

“This poses a challenge to our teachers. Even if there are two of these students in the class, who cannot speak English, it places an immense amount of pressure on the class teacher,” the school director said.

The falling student population has also led to financial challenges for the school. At the moment they’re on a fundraising drive so they can purchase a photo copying machine.

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