Opinion: more progress needed at SCS

Dear editor,

I am sorry that I have to write on your webpage again, but seen the developments in education I feel that it is my duty to keep the public of Saba informed about the developments which will affact their children’s future.

I wrote to Saba News on October 9th, November 26th and January 15th on the outstanding issues which have never been addresses to you and me, although we are parents and we want to know what is going on in school.

Reason why I am writing this is also based on the fact that the newly organised SEA (parent association) just simply does not get a reply or answer when questions are asked.
Therefore my piece with old and new stuff in it since nothing, read NOTHING, has been addressed nor by the director, nor the government.

  1. As far as I am aware, nothing has been done about the non-qualified teachers. The so called care coordinator is completely unqualified for her job but seems to be so important in school that she manipulates management team and director. My advise is to replace this individual immediately with a qualified person who cares about about the school and students and not her self carreer.
  2. The quota for staffing at the SCS has increased dramatically since August last year. An extra support for care and guidance was recruited. The Dutch language department exists now of three teachers instead of two. The director has recruited a communications officer to assist him with his daily communication to parents and teachers. A consultant has been appointed to give assistance with the Care and Guidance program. All these extra positions have been filled without any public announcement of available jobs at the school. The labor department needs to look into these practices. It also shows me that the director needs the external support in order to be able to run the school on a daily basis. If so, everybody should be ashamed of these mall practices. This has never ever been the case in the past and would not been tolerated by school board. But seen that the present Commissioner for Education was in charge untill the new board was introduced, it was free for all and in the land of the blind, one eye is king. The budget has been overspent and will have consequences on the daily running of the school for 2015. I hope you all understand what this means; no more educational materials can be ordered, recruitment of staffing is limited seen the quota available for SCS, and most of all, the students will not be able to do the extra subjects since teachers can no longer be paid for overtime. Thank you Mr. Director for sinking the SCS ship in deeper waters. Maybe the new school board will be able to adjust the downfall.
  3. The unqualified care coordinator has so far produced nothing to improve the care and guidance program in school. On the contrary, she is more involved in running the school and dictating the director how he should run the school. Although she got an extra assistant, results have been zero. This has been acknowledged by the Dutch expectorate in an inspection report that has been published recently on their website. (http://www.onderwijsinspectie.nl/onderwijs/Caribisch+Nederland/rapporten#02). My question is immediately why the director allows this person to become so dominant in school? Students mentioned to me that emails sent to her are never answered. She is the spill in making further education for students a reality. But apparently she chooses to play non-existing and therefore does not take the effort to reply to questions of students/ex-students. Mr. Director this happens under your management. You are ultimately responsible for all of this. How can you justify this mall-practice and how will the new board react to this?
  4. The inspection report concludes that due to the various changes since August which created the necessary unrest in school, the educational improvement process has stagnated and needs a new impulse. With other words: The school has stalled!! Mr. Director, what is your plan to tackle this issue and what does the board feels about this?
  5. The director changed the academic curriculum for Form 5 without permission of CXC by adding an extra subject to the list, Principles of Accounts. He forced the students to sign up for the upcoming exam, knowing that they did not meet the set criteria of CXC.I wonder how the examination results for this subject will be in July. Mr. Director can you clarify after your visit to CXC in Barbados what the answer is to this?
  6. I understand that a number of students have been sent home because they did not follow the school uniform rules. These months are called on Saba winter months. The school uniform does not provide warm clothing, rather than a polo shirt and a long pants. Is it not just common sence that my child brings along a sweater to stay warm in school, especially in St. Johns where it can be very cold?  Mr. Director, you are new here and maybe you still don’t understand Saba culture, but sending someone home because he did not wear the proper uniform is just ridiculous. Mr. Director, you should listen more to your management team who have been around for over 10 years. They might be the ones to protect you and avoid you from making these ridiculous mistakes. My advise, keep the care coordinator out of every management decision.
  7. Last July 2014, the construction of a new daycare and kindergarten classrooms was suppose to start in St. Johns. Now, 6 months later, no action has been taken to start this project. SHS is over populated and teachers and principal are running a daily crisis to manage the situation. SCS is waiting fr what will be in it for them seen al these new construction developments. The Commissioner of Education has not given any information about this project and why it has come to a halt. Mr. Johnson, is it not about time to inform the public and especially the parents of the planned educational developments? The daycare is waiting patiently to get moved to St. Johns. But as long as empty orange beer bottles dominate the new location, I think that no progress can be expected in the near future.
  8. While talking about projects and construction, we saw some years ago beautiful plans of the renovation of the hospital. Now, these plans have been torn from the walls and disappeared shamefully in the garbage bin. Is there anyone from Government able to tell us what is happening with our hospital and why these plans from years ago have not been executed?

I understand that no person, directly responsible for the above, will react on Saba News. That’s probably the excuse they have not to react to this kind of media, but I challenge anyone with balls to stand up and respond to the issues stated above since they do affect our students, our community and our future.

WHO DARES?

Saba Guru

Opinion: Stop Bashing Sabans
Opinion: SCS still faces multiple challenges

6 comments

  1. Saba Guru, what is your concern? you been quarreling for months and you didn’t get your way. What do you think you will achieve? If you could do a better job how come you are not there?

  2. Dear Jake,
    I read your reaction with very much interest. Since I believe that you do not understand the magnitude of the SCS problems, I will clarify a few.
    As I stated before there are financial, personnel and educational problems affecting the SCS and therefore the ongoing educational progress of our students.
    Just briefly answering your question, I am trying to inform everyone on the real issues that a
    re affecting SCS. That is my goal and that is what I am trying to achieve since the school and government are playing hide and seek when serious questions are asked.
    To answer your last question, it is the government who appoints people in certain positions. You should direct this question to them an maybe you will get an answer.

    If you have any other concerns, please let me know.

    Saba Guru

  3. well first line of business is to kick out the current Commissioner of education cause he done nothing for nobody sept himself. i hope that answer your question!

  4. Again Saba Guru wrote: “The director changed the academic curriculum for Form 5 without permission of CXC by adding an extra subject to the list, Principles of Accounts.”
    For your interest: there is no need to ask for permission of CXC in adding a subject to the curriculum. CXC only is an exam body, issuing exams in many subjects and several levels. How the curriculum is composed, which subjects are mandatory for a certain diploma, is determined by the local government. In the Dutch system, the packages of subjects are regulated by the ministry of education (OCW). SCS is, up till now, the only school in the Netherlands with a deviating system (and Statia soon to follow). OCW can demand some subjects to make the Saban diploma more comparable to the Dutch Havo-diploma. If this is the case wit PoA I don’t know; when I left in 2012 it was not.

  5. For Your Information

    Michiel Boeken:
    In order to clarify Saba Guru’s comment about Principles of Accounts please read below.

    CXC has a syllabus that is supposed to be followed in order to prepare students to take the exam. In this syllabus the course is laid out to follow a set number of sections and a set number of hours of instruction time. This is also set forth in the Curriculum that has been approved by the Dutch Inspectorate. Below is the excerpt from the CXC Syallabus:

    Unit 1: Financial Accounting
    Module 1 – Accounting Theory, Recording and Control Systems
    Module 2 – Preparation of Financial Statements
    Module 3 – Financial Reporting and Interpretation
    Unit 2: Cost and Management Accounting
    Module 1 – Costing Principles
    Module 2 – Costing Systems
    Module 3 – Planning and Decision Making

    Each Module requires at least 50 hours. These modules need not be accessed in the order presented in the syllabus. A thematic approach may be used for teaching and learning the material presented. Total time for each Unit is expected to be 150 hours.

    Now I ask you, is this fair to expect 5th form students to do over 300 hours of work in one year when they only meet 3 times per week? This was not fair to the students nor fair to the teacher to suggest that 3 years worth of work could be crammed into less than one year of study. It is also unfair for them to be pushed into taking the CXC exam. I could understand if they were just taking the course but not to be required to sit for the exam.

    If you want to see the CXC Syallabus I suggest you see this link.
    https://www.cxc.org/SiteAssets/syllabusses/CAPE/CAPE%20Accounting.pdf

    FYI: Requiring this of the students also goes against the “Approved Curriculum” that is set forth at SCS and blessed by the Dutch Inspectorate.

    The only ones who will loose at this point are the students who have the additional stress of trying to study for a subject that they were not properly prepared for.

    Rules and regulations are set for everyone and should not be ignored for approved curriculum and should not be changed on the whim of a poorly informed Director.

  6. Thank you for sharing this information. Actually you don’t deny my opinion: there is no need to ask CXC permission to add a subject to the exam. But of course I agree with yours: in 2011 we decided not to include PoA in the curriculum, because not enough time would be available (and also no experienced teacher). I can imagine that adding an extra subject will give extra stress. On the other hand: when it is an extra subject and a student doesn’t pass, it has not to be mentioned on the diploma. In that way it is just an extra chance to expand the diploma, as long as it is not interfering with the other subjects. I do understand especially this last is very doubtful.

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