Youth to caucus in September

POSTED: 06/10/13 12:55 PM

St. Maarten – A Round Table Conference featuring youth and adolescents is expected to be hosted in September by the Department of Youth Affairs within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports. Education Minister Silveria Jacobs made the announcement on Wednesday during a press conference called to discuss the findings of two reports on the state of youth and adolescents in the Dutch Caribbean, produced by Unicef-Netherlands and Unicef-Panama.  While the government does not foresee St. Maarten conducting its own comprehensive scientific research into the Rights of the Child anytime during 2013, Minister Jacobs said that the youth Round Table Conference is a step in the right direction. It will give minors an opportunity to discuss the present youth policy and evaluate key areas of development outlined in the policy. Their comments, criticisms and questions will be recorded for future use.

Head of the Department of Youth Affairs Shermina Powell-Richardson said that ahead of, and during the Round Table Conference, a youth monitor will also be conducted.

While in the Netherlands for a Kingdom symposium on children last month, Powell-Richardson said that the St. Maarten delegation made note of the way the Netherlands handles and monitors youth development.

“We have been trained across the ministry to process a youth monitor and we will be conducting a pilot phase of a youth monitor where children as well as young people will be requested to fill out a questionnaire.”

She said that the hope is that a digitized questionnaire will be finalized soon so that it can be accessed via a website.

However people who do not have access to the internet will be facilitated at the Youth Affairs Department where the survey will be administered. In this way, Powell-Richardson said that the Ministry will be able to collect data quickly.

“That youth monitor process will give us an opportunity to discuss the areas of concern that have been outlined in the Unicef reports,” she concluded.


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