Operational repairs of Sint Maarten’s schools are continuing under the Emergency Recovery Project (ERP-1), with work having recently started on Methodist Agogic Centre (MAC) Comprehensive Secondary Education and Milton Peters College (MPC).
The work will consist of repairs to roofs, doors, and windows. Additionally, the repairs will include installing new aluminum shutters, mold remediation, electrical work, and plumbing. Barring unforeseen delays, the repairs to both schools are expected to be completed by December 2022.
An Education Logistics Plan has been developed with each school board and management team to mitigate the negative effects that the repairs can have on students and their education. Several options were thoroughly investigated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS), the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB), and the school boards, which included online classes, temporary relocation of the school, and outfitting temporary classrooms on-site.
After weighing the pros and cons, each school board choose the option best suited to their respective situation. In general, the schools aimed for the best compromise with least inconvenience.
Having the largest student body in Sint Maarten, MPC decided to adopt a type of shift system. Some of its students will have in-person classes from 7:30am to 1:05pm, while the remainder will have classes from 11:55am to 5:30pm (at the latest).
MAC decided to utilize a hybrid approach, which will have a combination of online and in-person classes.
A total of 19 schools, divided into three batches, were chosen by the Ministry of ECYS for repairs under the school repair program of ERP-1. The repairs to the first batch – Sister Regina Primary School, St. Joseph Primary School, and Leonald Conner Primary School – were completed in the second half of 2021.
The second batch is made up of three (3) schools. In addition to the work now started at MAC and MPC, repair work to St. Dominic High School is expected to begin in June 2022.
A request for bids (RFB) for works in the third batch, consisting of the remaining 13 schools, was launched on March 10, 2022. This contract is expected to be signed in the second half of 2022, with work starting before year’s end.
The 13 schools in the third batch are MAC Browlia F. Maillard Campus, MAC John A. Gumbs Campus, Hillside Christian School (Asha Stevens and Helmich Snijders Campuses), Seventh-Day Adventist School, Sister Borgia Primary School, Sister Magda Primary School, St. Dominic Primary School, St. Maarten Academy, St. Maarten Academy PSVE, University of St. Martin (USM), Sundial School, and the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA).
“The goal is to have each of the 19 schools successfully repaired under this project, so that a greater number of our students have access to safer, enhanced learning spaces where they could grow and develop. We understand that the repairs will cause inconvenience to some students, parents and guardians, but we ask for understanding and cooperation as we work towards this goal,” said NRPB Director Claret Connor.
ERP-1 is one of the projects of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund, which is financed by the Government of the Netherlands, managed by the World Bank, and implemented by the NRPB on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten.