SINT EUSTATIUS – Dutch Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and Media, Mr. Arie Slob, visited St. Eustatius on Tuesday January 14th where he saw with his own eyes the improvements in education resulting from years of cooperation between the Ministry of Education, Culture & Science, the Public Entity of St. Eustatius and Primary and Secondary schools on the island.
Minister Slob and delegation were welcomed by Government Commissioner, Marcolino Franco and Deputy Government Commissioner, Mervyn Stegers, upon their arrival.
A meeting with the Executive Council of St. Eustatius addressed among other things the progress of the Covenant School Housing St. Eustatius. This covenant was signed between the Public Entity and the Ministry of Education in August of 2019.
It regards the new building of the Gwendoline van Putten School (GvP) and the resurfacing of the playground area as part of the recently completed renovation and new construction for the Seventh Day Adventist School (SDA School).
The agreement further establishes that the Minister will put regulation in place to transfer the responsibility of the exterior maintenance of the schools from the Public Entity to the school boards. The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture will transfer the required budget for the realization of the last two education housing projects in three equal installments the Public Entity.
“I am very impressed with all the work that is being done in education. This is due to the passionate teachers and administrators, who work with heart and soul on the future of the children. This is beautiful to see. The agreements with regards to the education housing are also showing good results”, states Arie Slob, Minister of Education.
Minister Arie Slob accompanied by Deputy Government Commissioner Mervyn Stegers, responsible for the portfolio of education, made it a point to visit all 4 primary schools as well at the Gwendoline van Putten school for secondary and tertiary education.
His first stop was at the SDA Lynch Plantation School. Since November 2019 teachers and students of this institution returned to their brand-new school building that was inaugurated in a special ceremony on Sunday January 12th.
His visit to the three remaining primary schools, Golden Rock School, Governor the Graaff School and Bethel Methodist School was to speak not only with management, but to interact with as many students as possible and learn how they personally experience education on St. Eustatius.
“The Public Entity of St. Eustatius is extremely proud of the achievements in education. These are due to the great cooperation between the local government, school boards and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Working together in education and the positive results achieved thus far are perfect examples of what can be achieved through cooperation”, Mr. Mervyn Stegers, Deputy Government Commissioner.
The Minister found it important to also pay a visit the Buzzy Bees Day Care in relation to the BES (t) 4 Kids programme. The BES (t) 4 kids programme’s was launched on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in June 2019 and has the ambition to offer all children in the Caribbean Netherlands good quality, safe and accessible childcare and after-school care by the year 2022.
The Public Entities and the Central Government (the Ministries of Social Affairs (SZW), Education, Culture & Science (OCW), Public Health, Welfare & Sports (VWS) and Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) work in close collaboration with each other in the BES(t) 4 Kids programme.
Time was reserved in the programme for tours to historic Fort Oranje as well as the St. Eustatius Historical Foundation Museum. The museum tour was guided by Ms. Misha Spanner and local historian and Director of the St. Eustatius Monument’s Foundation, Mr. Walter Hellebrandt.
Hellebrandt continued the tour of Fort Oranje, which focused on the history of slavery. Minister Slob and delegation departed St. Eustatius for Bonaire where he continues his visit to the Caribbean Netherlands before returning to the Netherlands. (Sint Eustatius GIS)
Director of the Buzzy Bees Day Care, Ms. Zuwena Suares, in conversation with Minister Arie Slob about pre-school education.
Minister Arie Slob interacting with students of the Golden Rock RC Primary school.