St. Maarten’s Education Minister pursues new education option

POSTED: 05/22/11 4:36 PM

St. Maarten – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Rhoda Arrindell visited the facilities of the Monroe College in St. Lucia and New York last week. She was accompanied by her Policy Advisor, Calvin Mardembrough. 

“It was a very successful visit which will soon result in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU with the institution that would allow St. Martin students to further their education there. In particular, recipients of government study financing will be able to attend any of the campuses of Monroe College at a maximum cost of $15,000.00 per annum and acquire a Bachelor’s degree in 36 months,” Arrindell said recently.

Monroe College holds the two highest accreditations available to any American college or university: the New York State Department of Higher Education accreditation and accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The St. Lucia campus of Monroe College offers degree courses in Public Health, Criminal Justice, Business Management, Hospitality management and Information Technology. The St. Lucia Ministry of Education authorizes the College to grant degrees in St. Lucia.  The St. Lucia Hospitality Association stands guarantor for the study loans offered to the students, which are paid back by the students after completion of their studies. By so doing, the graduates are also almost 100% guaranteed a job in their industry. The Culinary and Hospitality program allows the students to spend a full semester of training/internship in Italy.

From St. Lucia, Arrindell and Mardembrough headed to New York to visit the New Rochelle and Bronx campuses of the College. The New Rochelle campus consists of the following schools: Allied health professions, Business and Accounting, Criminal Justice, Hospitality Management, Education, and Nursing. It also offers Liberal Arts and Continuing Education programs, as well as Graduate programs and an Honors program.

Discussions were held with top officials of the college, including its Executive Vice-President, Marc Jerome who had visited St. Martin in January. In two hectic but productive days, the delegation was given a tour of the campuses and held meaningful discussions with the admissions staff, security and public safety chief, as well as with a group of students from several countries and particularly from the Caribbean.  They also met the athletic director and coaches and discussed possibilities for the island’s students, coaches and athletes to follow courses there.

“Monroe College has an outstanding athletic program with a group of winning coaches,” Arrindell said.

The New Rochelle campus has 2, 500 students, while the Bronx campus houses double that amount. The Bronx campus offers among others, degree programs in Nursing, Public Health, Criminal Justice and Forensic Science. The delegation met with Michele Rodney Esq. – Dean of the school of Criminal Justice. Rodney was a former prosecutor in the city of New York.

“Monroe College has articulation agreements and 2 + 2 programs with educational institutes in the Caribbean such as Antigua. It has a warm and friendly atmosphere while staff at every level is accessible to all students, with a real open door policy. We were most impressed by the quality of campus life and the attention and care students receive there,” the Minister said.

She added, “At a meeting with the board of the University of St. Martin this week, I gave a synopsis of our visit to Monroe College and suggested the possibility of articulation with Monroe for 2+2 program and transfer opportunities for USM students as well as to begin discussions regarding running some of the Monroe programs locally e.g. Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and especially their Teacher Education Program. It is also my intention to update Minister of Justice Roland Duncan immediately upon his return about the discussions held during this trip and continue to explore possibilities for this institution to assist with offering some of the much needed training and degree programs such as Forensic Science, through our own USM.”

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