58 Students To Depart For The Nederlands On July 29th

On Sunday, July 29 2012 the group of study financing recipients which consists of 58 students will be departing for the Netherlands. All the necessary specifics such as tickets, decrees and a startup allowance for the students have been finalized. While the process to compensate the travel agent for the payment of the students’ ticket encountered a delay, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECSY) was ultimately successful with enabling the facilitation of the students being able to travel to the Netherlands.

With regards to the delay in payments to the travel agent, the matter merely concerned payments that had been made to the travel agent beyond the agreed upon date. On Tuesday the Ministry ECSY became aware of this matter after which the Minister of Finance was immediately contacted and all efforts and resources were put in place to correct the situation. On Wednesday morning, the Minister ECSY held an emergency meeting in order to ascertain why the final information session was held prior to finalizing the tickets etc., and to ensure that all stakeholders were working together on the same page.

The breakdown of the 58 students scheduled to leave for the Netherlands on Sunday is as follows:

32 HBO/ Bachelor Degree Programs

6 WO Master Degree Programs

20 MBO/Advanced Secondary Education Programs

All the appeals pertaining to the Netherlands have been handled and others are still pending. The Ministry would hereby like to thank the appeals committee members for the work that they have been doing as they have been sacrificing their personal time in the evening hours after work in order to fulfill this task.

The arrangements and itinerary for the working visit of the Minister ECYS to the Netherlands has been made between the Cabinets of the Minister of ECYS and the Minister Plenipotentiary Mr. Voges as well as S4.

Info pertaining to the trip to the Netherlands

o Departure time: 12:30 pm, check in time: 9:00 am

o Students have been advised to travel light with only essential items to avoid having overweight luggage while travelling

o PSS (Postal Services St.Maarten) has a special until August 28th, for students to mail their boxes to Holland

o Domino Pizza/UTS has provided the students with bags and sweaters. Domino Pizza will be organizing some special activities for students on the airport.

Itinerary in the Netherlands

o Meetings will be held with

* Minister Plenipotentiary M.Voges,

* S4

* Haagse Hogeschool – Anna Maria Andriol (Re: Language Development)

o ROC Zwolle – Re: Exploring the possibility of establishing of a cooperation agreement with the school

o Ministry Onderwijs Cultuur & Wetenschap regarding the following topics:

* Cooperation Protocol

* Budget for studying in the Region

* Establishing of a Career/Study Center on St. Maarten

* Quality of Higher Education

* Ministerial Places

* Accreditation of USM/Adult Education Programs

o Soualiga Foundation

o Meet and Greet with St. Maarten Students

o Nederlandse Institute for Masters Education (NiME ) -Master Degree Programs for teachers

Special Needs Education Workgroup

On Friday July 20th, the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports met with the Special Needs Education work group from within Ministry chaired by Head of Division Education Innovations (DEI). The workgroup gave an update on a plan of approach for the reform and upgrading of Special Needs education. The topics that were presented dealt with the background, principles and beliefs regarding Special Needs Education.

A new scope for special needs education and inclusive education as well as the results of an audit that was carried out at the present Prince Willem Alexander School was also presented.

Areas for short term improvement were highlighted and decisions regarding ‘The Way Forward ‘were discussed. These included:

– A more global audit of special needs in all schools

– Classification of the types of special needs on the island

– New bussing arrangements for students at Prins Willem Alexander School

– An awareness campaign regarding Special Needs Education

– A Summit on Special Education

– Implementation of a new plan for Special Needs Education

– An upcoming course at USM for special needs education teachers.