On Friday, November 4th, the festive signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Teacher’s program in Saba and Sint Eustatius took place between OCW Caribbean, the University of St. Martin (USM) and the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI). The three institutions confirmed their cooperation to offer the Bachelor of Education BAE on Saba and Sint Eustatius.
The bachelor’s program prepares students for the profession of primary education teaching. The program is offered by the USM in cooperation with the UVI and is internationally recognized. USM has been commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture & Science (OCW) to offer the program to teaching assistants on Saba and St. Eustatius. With this, OCW is meeting the need for locally trained teachers for primary education on the islands. The assignment stems from the “Cooperation Protocol to promote teacher training in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands 2019-2025.” This protocol was signed in 2019 during the Four Countries Consultation by the four ministers of education of St. Maarten, Aruba, Curaçao, and the Netherlands.
With a predominantly English-speaking population and English as the language of instruction in schools, Saba and Sint Eustatius need teacher training in the English language. The USM has been providing that for more than 20 years. In addition, USM has designed and offered locally relevant courses such as the History and Culture of Saint Martin, a required course for all university students. Together with the school boards and local experts of Saba and Sint Eustatius, the USM faculty will develop a course on the history and culture of each island. This will constitute a required course in teacher training. Fourteen teaching assistants are enrolled to start in the program in January 2023.
Following the 2019 protocol, USM, along with other universities in the region, participated as actively in the set-up of Kibrahacha, the partnership for Training & Professionalization Together in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao.
Local partners expect that the Memorandum of Understanding signed Friday will strengthen Kingdom relations and bring educational institutions and school boards closer together in thinking about 21st-century education in the Caribbean.