June 14, 2023 –Philipsburg – The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport Hon. Rodolphe Samuel would hereby like to inform the general public about the introduction of a Secondary School for Special Education at the Sint Maarten Vocational Training School (SMVTS).
This groundbreaking initiative aims to meet the unique needs of students with diverse learning abilities and create an inclusive and supportive environment for their educational journey. Minister Samuel is proud to announce this initiative as part of the ongoing commitment to ensuring that every student has access to quality education, allowing them to excel academically and grow personally.
Currently, the student population at the SMVTS includes students coming from the Prins Willem Alexander Primary School (PWAS), students who have qualified for placement into Labor-Oriented Education (LOE) / ‘Arbeidsgericht Onderwijs’ (AGO) after testing, students who did not meet placement requirements for ‘Praktisch Basis Leerweg’ (PKL) / ‘Praktisch Basis Leerweg’ (PBL), and students from other secondary schools who for various reasons were expelled.
Due to the varying IQ levels of the students, there is a need for the SMVTS to provide comprehensive secondary level education to all levels.
The plan is to separate the students into two groups (two schools). Students who have demonstrated the ability to be able to successfully complete the Preparatory Secondary Vocational Education (PSVE) / ‘Voorbereidend Secundair Beroeps Onderwijs’ (VSBO) program, will continue their education with the VSBO program delivered at SMVTS, and students who meet the profile of AGO students or are otherwise defined as Special Education students will continue their program at SMVTS in a Secondary School for Special Education, which will eventually be moved to another location. To make this possible it will require additional financial and infrastructural plans, as well as human resources and materials to ensure optimal implementation.
In answer to the motion in Parliament of March 24, 2023, this proposal regarding the establishment of a Secondary School for Special Education in Sint Maarten has been drafted, to finalize the process of awarding Sint Maarten Vocational School with an official status. This was reported to Parliament on June 12, 2023, with an Action Plan as was requested by Parliament.
This proposal includes an implementation plan, information campaign, professional development plan for teachers, and finally the testing and placement of students.
As the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport works to introduce a Secondary School for Special Education at the SMVTS and to improve the provision of Special Needs and Inclusive Education on the island, the support and cooperation of the community of Sint Maarten are sincerely appreciated and recognized.
We are stronger together!