Minister Jacobs Concludes Holland Working Visit with Meet and Greet

Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports (MinECYS) Hon. Silveria Jacobs wrapped up her first working visit to the Netherlands with evaluation meetings with the Cabinet of the Plenipotentiary Minister Hon. M. Voges as well as the Board and staff of St. Maarten Student Support Services (S4) on Friday.

This culminated in a Meet and Greet with students in various stages of their educational development.

Students were able to sit with their Minister in an informal discussion about their studies, the path they had followed, and the importance of student support at their schools and S4.

They identified areas that needed improvement, and there was a passionate discussion as to the key components for successful completion of a chosen study. Many students identified that a determined attitude, good communication, being open to and assertive in asking for help, working to overcome any and all hurdles, helping others, accepting feedback, self-reflection and the help of study mentors and S4 mentors as being the reasons they are successful in their studies.

The Minister was inspired by some of the survival stories, commended them for their great achievements thus far and encouraged them to seek out the newly arrived students in order to assist them in making their journey as productive as possible.

Jacobs also stressed that St. Maarten, as a growing country, needs its educated and professional young people to return home to make a contribution to the much needed growth and change which is ongoing.

The Soualiga Foundation, S4 and St. Maarten House will serve as a central point for all St. Maarteners in the Netherlands to register in order to maintain a data base of the available work force as well as recent and/or soon to be graduates so that recruitment can take place in a systematic manner.

Noteworthy to mention is the ongoing success of Drs. Ivy N. Defoe, who started at the VWO MPC, achieving a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology and is currently working on her Ph.D.

To this end she is coordinating a large scale research on Adolescent Risk Taking (ART) at the University of Utrecht which will include St. Maarten. The Minister commended her as well as the other graduate students on their great achievements and pledged to promote and highlight them in St. Maarten.  They were also encouraged to do their thesis studies on topics of interest to the development of St. Maarten.

The Ministry of ECYS will focus on the positives and will work on programs which will give students more guidance in study choice and language development before students leave St. Maarten. With continued support and guidance during and after the pursuit of their degrees, students will then book higher levels of successful completion of the chosen study, facilitating their return to St. Maarten – thereby affording them the opportunity to contribute to the growth of our country.