MinistryECYS Comments on Story RegardingUSC officials worried government not recognizing teaching

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports (Ministry ECYS) says that it is with great concern that we have taken note of an article that appeared in the Daily Herald of January 16, 2013 under the heading; "USC officials worried government not recognizing teaching degrees".

Statements in this article attributed to USC Academic Dean Dr. Clayton DrePaul regarding the fact 15 to 20 teachers’ jobs may be in jeopardy because USC’s accreditation issue are erroneous and misleading.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs wishes to assure school boards, teachers, parents/guardians and students that no teachers are in jeopardy of losing their job. It is rather unfortunate that after what can be termed as a fruitful meeting with USC officials, the misinformation of the public took place in this manner.

The Ministry through the Division of Educational Innovations (DEI) has organized Foundation Based Education Certification training programs for uncertified teachers. As such all uncertified teachers have been given ample opportunity to become compliant with the existing Foundation Based Education (FBE) laws (article 3).

Since 10-10-10, the Division of Exams has assumed the responsibility for the evaluation of degrees on St. Maarten. Two persons within the Division have been trained and certified by NUFFIC to evaluate degrees and credentials. The NUFFIC are the experts in the Netherlands in the area of credential evaluations. The NUFFIC is not an accreditation agency as is being suggested in the article.

The FBE ordinance mandates that all teaching degrees obtained outside of the former Netherlands Antilles must be evaluated. Since 2011, the Division of Exams has evaluated only four USC degrees. These degrees were not recognized due to the fact that USC only finalized its accreditation in May 2012.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs is responsible for ensuring a high quality of education on St. Maarten. As such checks and balances have to be put in place to safeguard our educational system against persons with bogus degrees and/or degrees obtained from so-called degree mills.

The Government of St. Maarten subsidizes the Teachers Education Program at the University of St. Maarten and has placed as a prerequisite, the NVAO (The Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders) accreditation, as such regional and international educational institutions will be held to similar standards.