PHILIPSBURG – Party for Progress (PFP) faction leader and Member of Parliament (MP)
Melissa Gumbs posed several questions about the government’s study financing system in a letter to Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Rodolphe Samuel on Monday, November 15, 2021.
“Education, both formal and informal, is crucial for our development as a young country. This makes it extremely important to have a streamlined system to transition our students from secondary to tertiary education. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case,” said MP Gumbs. “One aspect of our educational system that is consistently under discussion is the
ambiguous nature of study financing and its priority list. Whether students have travelled to the United States, the Netherlands, or elsewhere, once they have handled the application process through the Division of Study Financing, they are subject to often vague and poorly communicated policies that impact their ability to begin or even complete their degrees.”
MP Gumbs asked Minister Samuel if the policies of the Division of Study Financing have been updated to fit the realities faced by the current generation of Sint Maarten students. Additionally, she requested the Minister to submit copies of all the Division’s most recent policies to
MP Gumbs also wants to know the average duration that the Division takes to process study financing requests for continuing education, such as students transitioning from a Bachelor’s program to a Master’s program. “In essence, how long does it take for a student to actually receive the funds? Is it six weeks, 10 weeks, six months? This timeframe is important for
planning purposes, bearing in mind that most institutions require payment before registration and/or graduation,” she noted.
The PFP faction leader ended her letter with questions about the study financing priority list, which is used as a guideline to approve or reject study financing requests. MP Gumbs wants to know how the Division goes about creating the priority list, how it ensures that the list matches
the needs of the country’s labor force, and how does the Division help students stand a better chance of gaining employment in their chosen fields upon returning home.
“Our students deserve to have a study financing system that provides them with the greatest opportunities to grow, thrive, and succeed. As such, I look forward to Minister Samuel’s responses in three weeks time,” concluded MP Gumbs.