Commissioner Wescot gives lecture at University of St. Martin

Last night, September 23, 2008, Commissioner Sarah Wescot-Williams gave a lecture at the University of St. Martin in a classroom of future teachers.

The request of Commissioner Wescot from the students was to deal with the topic of the future of teachers and the constitutional developments.

In the education class, instructed by Sharon Freiberg, Commissioner Wescot Williams spoke about the legal basis surrounding education, the educational system, and constitutional developments regarding education.

Commissioner Wescot began with examining the situation in a comprehensive way, from looking at the factors involved in the right to education to the consequences for the future country St. Maarten. 

online casino


The commissioner pointed out that the regulation of the educational system is the Federal Governmentâ??s responsibility based on the Island Regulations (ERNA). Thus parliament determines the rules and laws of the Educational system. Each island government has the financial responsibility.

Commissioner Wescot then explained the difference between public schools and private ones, which is that so called private schools are managed by a board, while financed by the Island Government. As for public schools, the Commissioner said that they have no over-seeing or regulating school board, but they are operated directly under the Island Government. However, a new system is currently being worked on whereby a foundation will manage the public schools, thus in essence, managed the same as private schools.

This cuts out much of the bureaucracy public schools face today when it comes to daily management.

Commissioner Wescot also spoke about the innovations currently taking place in education, such as the Foundation Based Education (FBE), funded mainly by the Dutch Government cooperative funds and programs. The Island and Central Governments contribute to the program as well.

These innovations are meant to give the child the best holistic formation possible, by eliminating the rigid system of classical education and early selection, to allow the child to develop at his/her own pace, and to discover early the potential and weaknesses of every child.

Another topic the Commissioner addressed was the time frame for the constitutional developments, which was slated to end December 15, 2008, but has since been revised for a later date.

Nevertheless the commissioner said, the plans for a comprehensive education policy continue, as a situation analysis has already been done and with country status in sight, we should start to prepare for the educational policies that we wish to develop and which will be our prerogative, once we attain country status.

After the commissionerâ??s speech, students were able to ask questions. Some of the questions related to: the future position of teachers, the salary of teachers, assistant teachers, explanation of the bureaucratic procedure, current state of affairs of teachers, school violence, among other topics.

Commissioner Wescott concluded the session by impressing upon the future teachers, the influence they can exert on the future leaders of our country and while not minimizing the huge responsibilities all citizens of country St. Maarten will face, the Commissioner remains hopeful that teachers will continue to make the difference for future generations.