Minister Plenipotentiary Hon. Josianne Fleming-Artsen recently met with the board of St. Maarten Student Support Services (S4) to get an update with respect to S4 activities for 2015.
Minister Fleming-Artsen at the same time introduced herself to the board who was represented by Rinaldo Hassell, President, Genevieve Mourillon, Secretary, Gino Rombley, Treasurer, as the new minister plenipotentiary who took the oath of office on December 19, 2014 in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Hon. Marcel Gumbs.
The meeting which took place at Sint Maarten House in The Hague, dealt with two particular areas which were discussed at length, firstly, the preparation of Sint Maarten students whose intention is to study in the Netherlands; and secondly, the supervision of Sint Maarten students while studying throughout the country.
“We had a very good and lengthy discussion. The preparation of students who are going to study in the Netherlands needs to take place well in advance and not six-months before they are to travel.
“This type of preparation should take place over a two-year period it was suggested. Students experience various challenges after getting here, and in order to avoid what is currently taking place, a new trajectory is needed where it concerns preparing our young bright minds for study abroad.
“They should be the best prepared prior to leaving Sint Maarten. Parents will also feel more comfortable as well. Setting up a new trajectory will take some time, but preparing the group that will travel in July 2016 should start from August 2015, a year before they travel.
“Students who come to study confront various challenges and don’t make it to the end of their study. This is very unfortunate and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
“Based on the discussion with S4, we don’t have the statistics on how many drop out. As an educator, I can empathise with the situation, and will do my part working will all stakeholders here and in Sint Maarten to put the necessary mechanisms in place so we can have a complete turnaround.
“It will benefit all our students, and parents will have a peace of mind when they send their youngsters abroad to study and to return home at the end of their study to contribute to the national development of the country.
“A new mind-set in the way we think is needed. We are building a country, and our youth are the ones who will have to come back home and continue to build the country. They should be given first and foremost the job opportunities when vacancies arise,” Minister Plenipotentiary Hon. Josianne Fleming-Artsen said on Wednesday.