Teen Times’ petition to include St. Maarten history in secondary education (see Monday paper) was broadly applauded online and throughout the community. It seemed fitting that the presentation took place at The Daily Herald in front of a painting of its late co-founder Roger F. Snow, who supported the idea of a publication “by and for the youth” from the beginning, as this newspaper still does today.
They chose PFP Member of Parliament (MP) Melissa Gumbs rather than – for example – Parliament’s Education Committee because of the opposition party’s “young core and forward-thinking approaches.” That may raise some eyebrows among other parties and elected representatives, but should not be an excuse to turn this important request into a political football.
However, all involved should also realise that there is a lot to consider, starting with the lesson materials based on and/or compiled from available books, audio-visual records, studies, and documentation. As uniformity is obviously required, selecting exactly what to teach and how will be a major task for experts in the field.
The main local education forms are the Dutch system and Caribbean CXC model. Any addition or expansion of existing subjects must take their respective curriculums and standardised exams into account.
But that is no reason to be discouraged, with widespread agreement in society that this has been long overdue. It entails a significant but noble challenge.