Education fine and Arrindell’s vision become key topics with Dutch officials

POSTED: 08/4/11 2:59 PM

Education Ministers to meet in 2012

St. Maarten – Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell made a proposal to fine students who do not finish their study on time a central discussion point during her meetings in The Hague on Wednesday. Arrindell is currently on her first visit to the Netherlands in her capacity as minister and her first reference to the plan when she addressed students at Monday’s welcome ceremony.

At that time she said, “Your hosts might even impose a 3,000 euro fine on you for not finishing on time, if discussions this year in the Dutch Second Chamber regarding higher education are anything to go by. Whether this becomes a reality or not, the fact of the matter is that the Dutch government wants you to finish your studies on time and return to your own island. The St. Martin government wants the same.”

On Wednesday during discussions with the Director General of the Dutch Ministry of Education Arrindell was provided with clarification of the Dutch government’s intentions. Arrindell also got further insights when she discussed the proposed law with the Labor Party’s (PvdA) spokesperson on education in the Second Chamber Tanja Jadnanansing. The two women also discussed how improvements can be made to how St. Maarten’s students prepare for their studies in the Netherlands.

Ministry discussion

The discussion at the Ministry of Education also included allowing students from St. Maarten who pass the exams set by the Caribbean Examinations Council to pursue their studies in the Netherlands. The Dutch government already allows this for students from Saba. Arrindell has also been informed that she must urgently submit the country’s request to obtain funds to assist students who are pursuing tertiary education opportunities in the region. The country has yet to apply for its 2011 funding.

According to a statement Roborgh was very receptive to the Minister’s ideas and offered “many valuable suggestions on how to achieve some of her goals.” He also tabled the cooperation protocol and the planning for the Ministers’ conference in 2012. Preparations for the meeting will begin with a meeting of top civil servants in January.

Other visits

Arrindell began her day Wednesday with a visit to the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary Mathias Voges. Voges gave an outline of his tasks and his work since his move to the Netherlands in December 2010 and Arrindell shared her views on the future of education in St. Martin.

Arrindell and her delegation also visited Haagse Hogeschool and held discussions with Anna Maria Andriol and the Chairman of the Board of the school, Rob Brons. The meeting with Andriol, who has been involved with minority organizations for many years, focused on the minister’s vision for education. Andriol has pledged her support for making the vision a reality. She’ll be using the experience she gained in travelling to the United States of America to explore possibilities that would help students from minority cultures in the Dutch community to excel and be more successful in their studies.



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