Minister Hosts Education Conference Friday


Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell will be hosting an Education Conference Friday, December 16, 2011 at the University of St. Martin.


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The all-day Conference, which starts at 8:00AM and ends at 4:15PM, is themed: "Raising the Bar in Educational Leadership and Management." It is designed primarily for the management teams and school boards of all private and public elementary and secondary schools as well as the management team and supervisory board of the University of St. Martin.

The Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU), the Management and staff of the Ministry of Education as well as the staff of the Minister’s Cabinet are also expected to participate in the Conference.

Dr. Arrindell said the objective of the Education Conference is "to introduce the concept of quality, standards, accountability and competencies to those who lead and manage educational institutions in St. Maarten."

"Our aim at this Conference is to provide school managers and school boards with several tools to raise their standard of professionalism, increase leadership and management capacity and quality and to inform them of the reforms and changes in the educational system that will be introduced in the short and medium terms," the Minister added.

According to Mrs. Patricia Lourens, Chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the Conference, and Head of the Division for Educational Research, Planning and Innovation (DERPI) of the Ministry, "the Ministry of Education has, in the last year, made a decision to spearhead an analysis of the performance and an assessment of the policy gaps relative to the Education System."

"One such assessment," she explained, "indicates the need for an urgent capacity development of school boards and school managers and as such this conference, proposed by the Minister, is another effort in a chain of events and actions that is being sought to raise the standard of professionalism, competency, quality and accountability of school management teams."

The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Marc Jerome, Vice President of Monroe College, on the topic of "Leadership and Management in Education."

Other speakers include Ms. Rubina Boasman, an expert in The Netherlands, who will address the topic of "Quality Standards in Higher Education."

The Chief Education Officer of Anguilla will be speaking on "A Teacher and Management Appraisal System," while retired veteran educator, Mrs. Jane Buncamper, will talk about " 21st Century Qualities of a Good Teacher and a Good School Manager."

Former President of USM, Mrs. Josianne Fleming will similarly address the topic of "Designing an In-service Training Plan."

One of the major items on the program is the presentation of highlights of the Education Plan.

"The intention is to take this Plan to the people in the early part of the New Year, in town-hall style meetings in the various districts for their input," Minister Arrindell explained.

"We are looking forward to a very exciting Conference with the active participation of all the invited stakeholders," the Minister said.