Union concerned about children unable to find a place in school

POSTED: 10/12/12 1:16 PM

GREAT BAY—With St. Maarten celebrating two years as a country within the Netherlands there should be a structure in place for the training of all teachers, said the president of the Windward Islands Teachers Union Claire Elshot. “We should be able to analyze what is going on with our students.”

It is still “worrisome” that parents who have children between the ages of 15 and 18 years of age are unable to get their children in schools, Elshot said. Children who were born on the island but had to leave for their parents’ birthplace are now returning to go to school here.

“They are also returning because there is a law that states when these children reach the age of 18 they could get the Dutch nationality,” Elshot said.  “This law also states that these children must prove that they have had been educated on the island for the last three years which is the reason that parents are seeking placement for them in the schools.”

Elshot stressed that children who are born in St. Maarten are St. Martiners. In that sense she has a difference of opinion with “other grassroots people.”

Parents who can afford it could either send their children to Holland or the United States to further their education. Elshot maintains that the education system is not rewarding.

Students who finish high school at age 15 or 16 have to wait until they turn 18 before they are considered for a scholarship, Elshot said. “It is becoming more worrisome because I am meeting more parents who are complaining. They believe the time is right for a balance whereby there are the right facilities to educate the students.”

“If we have our students at this age just walking around and not properly guided or educated one could just imagine what will happen to them if they end up with the wrong company,” Elshot said. “There is no need to offer our young people to the police so that they could become a record.”

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