Lake urges ministry to get rid of Nipa-boardPOSTED: 09/30/15 7:01 PM
St. Maarten – United people’s party MP Maurice Lake urged Education Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs yesterday to get rid of the board at the National Institute of Professional Advancement (Nipa).
“When the school started in 2014 it had 288 students. In 2015 there are just 65,” Lake said. The board does not live up to any deadlines. It is involved in six lawsuits and it has already lost two. They have to pay out their former managing director. Nipa gets subsidy for educational purposes, not for paying out lawsuits. You have to stop being nice to them. This is unacceptable.”
Ministry staffers presented different numbers: 142 at the start of the school in 2014 and 232 towards the end of the first year. According to the ministry there are 170 students right now.
The Ministry of Education wants to ensure that the articles of incorporation of the National Institute of Professional Advancement comply with the Corporate Governance Code. This is one of the conclusions the ministry’s Secretary-General Jorien Wuite presented in parliament yesterday after a minute explanation about the legal framework that regulates Nipa and its relationship with the ministry.
Wuite also said that the appointment of new board members have to be in accordance with Nipa’s articles of incorporation and that the institute must have a management charter.
The ministry furthermore intends to “intensify regulations” and to settle subsidies for the 2013-2015 period. The subsidy system must be established in a national decree on the so-called cost-system.
The ministry also wants to subject Nipa to intensified supervision and monitoring by the Education Inspectorate “in the interest of improvement of the quality of advanced vocational education.”
Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs (Education) hinted that meetings with the Nipa-board had not gone well, but she offered no public explanation. Instead she sent Members of Parliament detail in writing for their perusal. Bourne-Gumbs did say however that the Nipa-board had refused to sign off on a 7-point action plan designed to improve the situation at the school.
Minister Bourne-Gumbs said that the focus had been on making sure that the cohort of 2014 would be able to finish the studies they had started. She said that there are “many challenges” with the cohort of 2015. The minister indicated that she intends to apply the subsidy ordinance to the institution – an indication that the school could lose its subsidy if it does not meet the requirements of this ordinance.