GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – With hopes of creating joint degree programs in Business Administration and other areas of study, the University of St. Martin (USM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS) on Thursday, to formalize an intent on institutional collaboration.
The agreement, initiated by former USM President Francio Guadeloupe prior to Hurricane Irma in 2017, was originally intended to serve as the basis of a 2+2 programme, whereby students from Sint Maarten would complete two years at USM and then move to The Hague in order to complete their degree.
Since taking on the USM presidency in 2018, Antonio Carmona Báez has pushed for negotiations on joint courses and degree programs.
“We are currently developing a course on Contemporary Caribbean Business which will be available to Dutch students as well. We look forward to collaboration and exchange of students and faculty,” said Carmona in written statements to the press.
This agreement will not only allow Sint Maarteners to go to the Netherlands for one year of study and/or internships but also encourage them to return and complete their degree on Sint Maarten and search for jobs at home.
The so-called brain-drain, which Sint Maarten and other Caribbean countries suffer, is thought to be mitigated by this sort of collaboration that is supported by the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten and encouraged by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (OCW).
Founded in 1989, USM was established on Sint Maarten as a university of applied sciences (HBO) that offers degrees in Hospitality and Business and is the first institution of the Kingdom officially recognized to offer Teacher Education in the English language.
THUAS (also known as de Haagse Hoogeschool) offers English language undergraduate (BA) and graduate (MA) degrees which attract many students from the Caribbean side of the Kingdom.
Head of USM Business Department Jan van Beek and International Business Administration Programme Director Rogier Busser expressed satisfaction with the signing of the MoU.
“The time has come to formalize relations between two very important partners in tertiary education. Today we are looking at Business, tomorrow we can look at other areas of study, like Safety and Security and Public Management,” said Van Beek.
The signing of the MoU took place at the Sint Maarten House and was witnessed by Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite, OCW Caribbean Desk Director Aldrik in het Hout, USM President Carmona and Caribbean Historian and Strategic Advisor THUAS Anna Maria Andriol.
Representatives of THUAS and USM after signing the MoU.