SSF Chairman Perry Geerlings Presents Report to PM, Minister of Education

Mr. Perry Geerlings, Chairperson of the Stichting Soualiga Foundation (SSF), presented the results of the Student Forum that was held on April 20, 2012, to the Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams and Minister of Education, Ms. Silveria Jacobs during the Council of Ministers Meeting on Thursday. The report entitled ‘Factors of Influence: the Academic Performance of Sint Maarten Students in the Netherlands & Repatriation" documented the perceptions of the students that took part in the forum; how they achieve academic success and what their thoughts were on returning home.


SSF was initiated by Minister Plenipotentiary of St. Maarten, Mr. Mathias Voges to cater to the specific needs of St. Maarteners living in the Netherlands. On October 11, 2011, the foundation was incorporated and upon arrival of Mr. Geerlings, Chairmanship was turned over to him. The initial board comprised of of Ms. Carol Voges, Ms. Aishira Cicilia, Mr. Garrick Richardson, and Ms. Maria Charles under the leadership of Mr. Geerlings organized a forum with its main goal "to discuss and document factors that affect the academic performance of St. Maarten students in the Netherlands, as well as to look at how they can return to Sint Maarten successfully after completing their studies." The information presented was provided by St. Maarten students, recent graduates and young professionals living in the Netherlands. Both problems as solutions were identified while compiling the report. The factors for studying both successfully and unsuccessfully were divided into educational, personal, social and financial factors. Mr. Geerlings concluded his presentation by summarizing that there is a pool of young, well-motivated professionals available, but that more information should be present on the whereabouts of the St. Maarten students and graduates for them to return home. Already various solutions outlined in the report have been incorporated in the Governing. The full report can be viewed online on Stichting Soualiga Foundation Facebook site.