Jacobs confirms million guilder budget over run

POSTED: 05/31/12 12:59 PM

10 percent success rate in the Netherlands

St. Maarten Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Silveria Jacobs has presented figures proving that former Minister Dr. Rhoda Arrindell granted study financing requests for 1.1 million guilders more than was budgeted for the year. The budget shows a reservation of 2.4 million guilders, but Arrindell’s decisions means the bill climbs as high as 3.5 million guilders.

A total of 237 applications were submitted to the study financing committee for the 2012/2013 school year. The group advised the minister to grant 134 applications, advised against granting 82 requests and held off on a definitive advice for 21 applicants that were still waiting for exam results. Arrindell used the discretionary power she has as minister to grant 208 applications, deny 22 applications and to hold off on a definite answer for seven that were waiting for exam results.

Arrindell’s approvals represent an increase of 20.9 percent when compared with the 2011/2012 school year. In hard figures that is 74 more students being granted in 2012 than in the amount of recipients in 2012. It has also been noted that 41 of the applications that were granted by the former minister did not meet the criteria and are now under review by the minister and the study financing committee. The initially rejected applications included students who did not meet academic requirements, studies that were not a priority and issues with the location.

“I would not like to burden the government further and also have students go out there who are not very likely to succeed. I am following the letter of the law and there is much to be done,” Jacobs said.

Later she’d add, “Some people are going to be disappointed, but they would have been disappointed if the correct procedure had been followed in the first place.”

Studying in the region

Jacobs also announced on Wednesday that she will be promoting studying in the region because of the level of success. It is cheaper to send the students to the Netherlands, but the success rate of the students who go there is 10 percent.

“There is a very low success rate for students actually going to Holland, in the long run these students do not complete or are constantly changing the direction in which they are going. It is a mere 10 percent out of Holland and we are very concerned about that,” Jacobs said.

Not a right

Jacobs also urged parents to do more to save for their child’s tertiary education.

“Study financing is not necessarily a right but it is something that you earn. Parents need to start saving for their children when they are born so that they are not totally dependent on the government. They must look at the big picture,” the minister said.


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