The letter-to-the-editor published below has been first published in Statia News. The issues may also apply to students from Saba.
Please allow me some space to share the sentiments of my heart concerning a matter that is dear to me. It pertains to the guidance program put in place by the S4 organization. First off let me say, that I am in no way bashing this organization or their efforts for our students! What I am doing is stating clearly that in my opinion S4’programs and packages are not meeting the guidance need of the Statian student traveling to or living in the Netherlands. I will spare you the details of the experiences that some of our children have had here. The place their parents and our leaders send them to secure a future for themselves, their children and Statia.
Last evening I was present at a function where I noticed a sizable difference between the quality offered to our students as opposed to those from Sint Maarten. I asked questions because I wanted to understand why this was the case. I was made to understand that St. Maarten pays for the extra elements in their package. The dienst uitvoering onderwijs (DUO) does not cater financially for these extras. I then asked why the students from the BES islands did not receive these extra elements, and was promptly referred to my own people.
Now I am asking myself a few questions. For example: Is it not strange that the government of Sint Maarten would make additional requests to their ‘own’institution pertaining to the introductory program upon arrival in the Netherlands? What could this mean? Could it be the basic services as currently provided by S4 do not meet the needs of first time students to the Netherlands? How is it that the government of St. Maarten sees this as a priority and invests in extra support and the government of Statia does not? And more importantly: could it be that the basic services provided by S4 do not meet the needs of first time Statian students? I then ask myself , is there a responsibility for our coalition government in this? Or for our commissioner of Education in particular? If so, what would that responsibility be? Honorable Commissioner of Education, what do you think? What about you councilman Merkman? Council ladies Marsdin-Lijfrock and Spanner? Honorable sirs Brown, Henriquez and Sneek?. Do you have a responsibility here? If so, what would your responsibility be exactly?
I know that the referendum is important. The same goes for the constitutional status. But who will do the work that is needed to bring about these changes? Who will you bring in to do the work “the Dutch” keep taking away from our own? Who will build this Utopia so many of you speak about, when our young people are left alone, some of them underaged, in a society that will either break them psychologically or swallow them whole, because they have no idea what to expect? With all due respect, guidance for our students is a priority NOW! It cannot wait until after the referendum! The next set of children will be entering exam class in a few short days! We need action now. So let me challenge you all to put your money where your mouths are, and take care of this matter immediately! Do something, tangible for the youth that you profess to care so much about. Invest in a program for our students, with services tailor made for them! Help our students and their parents prepare for their future, your future, our future!
In all the trips that are constantly made to Holland, find time to speak to the ministry of education and with DUO and implement Statia Student Services. We need that. No one can take care of our own better than our own! Rest assured, I would not be standing at the sidelines running my mouth, I would go with you! I have been to the Ministry, so have many others. I have written a proposal. I have contacted the people who are willing to work, but I keep getting referred to you! We all keep getting referred to you! So, I am here now in the name of all the amazingly intelligent, and excellent students of Statia pounding at your door and asking you to do something! The youth need you! Is that not priority enough?! Be the leaders that I know you are! Lead for Christ sake, Lead!!
Jean Marie Molina
Note Editor Saba News: read also this message from Nataly Linzey
Note as well that similar complaints and questions have been asked by people from Bonaire and probably are also relevant for Saba