Trust Fund approves $26.8m to rebuild two schools, library

Trust Fund approves $26.8m to rebuild two schools, library

Sitting (from left): St. Maarten Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Rodolphe Samuel; St. Maarten NRPB Director Claret Connor; World Bank Caribbean Countries Director Lilia Burunciuc; and St. Maarten Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs.

PHILIPSBURG--Government and the World Bank have signed a US $26.8 million grant agreement for the Fostering Resilient Learning Project, which aims to rebuild Sister Marie Lawrence (SML) and Charles Leopold Bell (CLB) Schools, to restore access to library services through the reconstruction of Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) and to strengthen the government’s information management system for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS).

The infrastructure of St. Maarten’s education sector was significantly damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, with detrimental effects on children’s learning environments. As a result, access to schooling and to the extracurricular programmes of the SML and CLB schools – including those targeting special needs and at-risk pupils and students – either were discontinued or could not be implemented as planned.
Moreover, PJL – a critical centre for literacy, culture and artistic expression in St. Maarten – remains severely damaged and unusable. Its reconstruction is needed to return PJL to its pre-hurricane role of providing access to culture and education for the community, the World Bank stated in a press release.
“The reconstruction of Sister Marie Laurence and Charles Leopold Bell Schools and of Philipsburg Jubilee Library will improve learning environments and strengthen human capital in the country,” said World Bank Director for the Caribbean Lilia Burunciuc. “I am delighted that this project will reopen access to critical educational and learning services, especially for those St. Maarten youth who have special needs or are at-risk.”
The project will also support the development of a comprehensive information management system to inform government decision-making and oversight of the education, culture, youth and sport sectors.
“Strengthening the ECYS Ministry’s information management system that allows for more reliable and accessible data will inform the decision-making of policymakers for a better management of the sector,” said Claret Conner, Director of National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB), the implementing agency of the project.
The project complements ongoing activities financed by the Trust Fund, including repair of 19 schools under the Emergency Recovery Project, strengthening of the child protection and education system under the Child Resilience and Protection Project, and the support provided by Resources for Community Resilience R4CR to early childhood education and sports facilities.
The new project will also collaborate with the government’s Digital Leadership Team in the context of the national digital transformation strategy.

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