Update: The press conference of Commissioner Johnson is now available on Youtube:
On Friday, Commissioner of Education, Chris Johnson held a press conference on the ongoing developments at the island’s sole secondary institution, the Saba Comprehensive School, to address the concerns of the community.
On Monday September 15th the two remaining members of the Saba Educational Foundation formally submitted their resignations to the commissioner, thereby creating a situation where the commissioner was obliged to get involved ensure that the school would continue to function normally. The commissioner pointed out the primary goal should be to benefit the students, “and all we want is the best for the children of the Saba Comprehensive School.”
In order to create meaningful reform at SCS, the first step that will be taken is the creation of an Educational Task Force (ETF) that will look at the operation and the functioning of the school. The members of the ETF will be the Commissioner of the Education, the Director of Saba Comprehensive School and two members of the Council of Secondary Education (Voortgezet onderwijs raad), Mr. Sjoerd Slagter and Wim Littoij. These two members will be on the island on October 6th.
The basis of the premise on which the goals and objectives of the ETF are “where we have come from, where are now and where we are going.”
There are 5 main goals and objectives of the Educational Task Force which are:
- To ensure the educational quality, learning environment, overall safety, stability and educational development of the Saba Comprehensive School with the best interest of the students as the absolute priority and foundation principle.
- To review the goals and priorities of the previous Task Force and the progress and execution of these objectives during the period of the last 2 school years.
- To evaluate the current situation with regards to the academic levels, curriculum development, status of teachers, parent representation within the MR, relationship with other educational institutions and the overall functioning and operation of the SCS.
- To evaluate and review the Articles of Incorporation of the Saba Educational Foundation based on school development, current educational legislation, and the present situation and needs of the SCS.
- To produce a report based on the findings of the ETF, with a list of recommendations and action points to be taken by the ETF. The final report will include an updated framework for the overall structure and functioning of the SCS which will be presented to OCW and Island Government to be ratified and implemented.
The intention of the ETF is also to involve the educational stakeholders on the island as much as possible. The process will be open and transparent and task force will meet with parents, teachers and also with persons that would like to make appointments with them are welcome to do so.
The press conference was recorded and will be broadcast through Saba Cable TV and through social media during the weekend.
Press Release GIS Saba September 20, 2014
Congratulations Saba! This is the best solution that could have been made.
From this information, I learn the following:
– The Members of the school board do report in some way to the Commissioner of Education, else they would not have to hand in their resignation to him.
– The Commissioner creates a task force with only one Saban: himself.
– There is no representation of any other parent in this task force except the Commissioner.
Of course, the situation requires a Commission of wise people and, yes, the Commissioner should be part of this task force as he has political responsibility. However, there are also other persons in the community that have demonstrated to be willing to take responsibility.
This initiative suggests that, indeed, The Netherlands is a Kingdom, but Willem-Alexander seems to have strong local competition.