DP presents platform on education: Life-long learning in thinking schools

POSTED: 08/5/14 11:20 PM

St. Maarten – The Democratic Party presented its party platform on education on Monday. The party’s vision is predicated on the belief that the development of human resources is vital to the island’s economic development. The focus of the Democratic Party is to create the national culture and social environment necessary to promote life-long learning opportunities for the people of St. Maarten.

“It is the party’s belief that all of our citizens have the ability to continuously learn, both for professional development as well as personal enrichment. This belief has led to the successive Democratic Party governments over the years fully supporting the development of a flexible and adaptable education system. A system designed not only for catering to the needs of the local labor market, but also to meeting the requirements and providing the tools to convert our citizens into creative, innovative and thinking individuals. These individuals should participate optimally in all efforts to better themselves and the society in which they live. The education offered to them in our institutions should prepare them participate fully in and benefit from all opportunities available on the island for entrepreneurship as well as employment,” the platform states.

The Democratic Party advocates “thinking schools” as education institutions for our children. Thinking schools are learning organizations in every sense: constantly challenging assumptions, and seeking better ways of doing things through participation, creativity and innovation. “Thinking schools will be the cradle of thinking students as well as thinking adults and this spirit of learning should accompany our students even after they leave school. St. Maarten must become a learned and knowledgeable society. With the many technological solutions to bridge distances, this goal is a realistic one. The DP administration has set the tone for this line of thought, starting within the government as it relentlessly offered government personnel opportunities to train, study and intern both locally and abroad.”

From the perspective of the Democratic Party nation building is about involvement and inclusion. It is about respect and values and about the future of our nation and generations to come; “We will not shy away from necessary adjustments to our educational system or the implementation thereof to ensure that our children get the best education possible. No educational system should limit our children; on the contrary it should aim to give all our children equal opportunity.

Against this backdrop, the Democratic Party was able to deliver during its last governing a state of the art polytechnic institute, named the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA), the party stated in a press release. “This institute caters to a growing student population of 250 students and currently offers certificate programs in several areas. Our vision for the NIPA is that it will evolve into an institution which will eventually also offer Associate Degree programs in specific technical areas. Students with the ability to further their studies in these areas will be granted the opportunity to do so at the USM and abroad. The Democratic Party also envisions that this institute will afford second chance and adult education to motivated students.”

 The Democratic Party says it is cognizant of the fact that the continuous improvement in the quality of education on the island requires periodic educational reform, introduced several forms of innovations, like smaller class rooms, quality control, early diagnosis, early childhood care, community schools, performance evaluation of teachers, the introduction of compulsory education, truancy officers, and emphasis on physical education and the arts. “It is becoming more and more evident that many of our students struggle with social and emotional problems, which negatively impact their school performance. To assist these students and their parents, the Student Support Services was established within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports. The recently constructed school in Belvedere has been designated as an Education Care Center, intended to cater to students with behavioral problems, which negatively impact their performance at their respective schools.”

The University of St. Maarten, which was established in 1989, continues to evolve and seek to match the educational needs of our population, the party platform states.” The DP believes tertiary education on St. Maarten must continuously strive to elevate the professional skills and training of our society, by offering not only college degree programs but also certificates and opportunities for professional advancement. If we are to consider the diversification of our economy by providing services such as call centers, e-zones, financial services and the like, even on a small scale, trained human resources will be required.”






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