Mostly up to them

Mostly up to them

School starts today for most youngsters in St. Maarten, after the summer holiday. Despite all the best efforts to prepare, some teething problems will invariably occur at the beginning of each new academic year.
Traffic congestion, particularly in the Saunders/Ebenezer/St. Peters/South Reward cul-de-sac, can again be expected, along with the annual stress for all involved including students, teachers, administrators and parents. Stay calm and keep in mind that this is only the first day, so things are likely to become smoother moving forward.
Education is compulsory, meaning every youth living here must be in the classroom. This creates issues if their legal residence status – usually because the same goes for the parents – is not regulated. However, rights of the child take preference, which is why one will hopefully never see immigration raids at schools.
Education is also offered in a large variety ranging from public to subsidised to private schools, with Dutch and/or English as language of instruction. That also reflects the diversity of the population, both in terms of origin and religion although mainly Christian.
The two main systems are based on that of the Netherlands or the Caribbean Examination Council CXC regional programme. While there have been complaints about the content of both, they have produced plenty of very successful graduates who have made valuable contributions to society over the decades.
The reality remains that much depends on the ones doing the learning. People can’t effectively be taught unless they want to learn and are willing to try.
In the end it is their future to buy into and take ownership of. Help is always welcome and often needed, but ultimately how well they do is mostly up to them.

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