Immigration issues affect youth. Education Minister Jacobs says

POSTED: 01/30/13 2:03 PM

St. Maarten – Immigration has adversely affected the island’s youth and placed a burden on limited resources. The Integrated Youth and Sports Policy as presented by Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Minister Silveria Jacobs will help to solve some of socio-economic issues that young people currently face. The minister while responding to a question posed by United People’s Party Parliamentarian Dr. Ruth Douglass, last Friday, gave an overview of the situation.

“Due to immigration issues, we are experiencing overcrowding in schools, a high rate of youth unemployment,” the minister said, adding that although her ministry has not been able to measure it as yet, they anticipate that overcrowding will also result in a high dropout rate of students.

To mitigate this, the education minister said that more diverse educational opportunities for our SBO schools are being looked into. She also wants to extend the school life of youth.

This she explained is already being done with compulsory education.

“It’s now been phased to the highest level. Students have to stay in school until they are now 18. This also gives them a better opportunity to be educated so that they do not have to look for jobs at a very young age, at the same time helping them to be prepared for the labor market.”

The minister said that policy has not seen full implementation as yet; it is being phased out

However one of the factors impeding the success of addressing the policy indicators is “the ability to finance the intervention programs,” Jacobs noted.

Apart from government’s involvement, Jacobs emphasized that parental involvement also plays a critical role in the development of well-rounded young adults.

Currently, parental involvement falls within Education Policy under the Innovations Divisions.

Active parenting sessions have been organized at every school and more schools are becoming compliant with having their parent-teacher foundation established, the minister stated.

Schools are also being trained to encourage parents to become more involved in their child’s education.

Jacobs also wants a formal collaborating with the Ministry of Labour in terms of championing the rights for people to visit schools, volunteer and spend time with their children, without being penalized by their employers.

The proposed Children and Youth Development Foundation will also be responsible for implementing more programs that give voice to the concerns of youth and actively pursues their overall development.



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