Government Commissioner Alida Francis Opening of the Resource Centre

I am extremely happy to be here and thank you for inviting me to celebrate with you.

I remember briefly sharing office space with ECE Director Camelia Berkel-Dembroock at the RCN Mazinga Complex some years ago. That was the early beginning of the establishment of the Expertise Centre Education Care St. Eustatius. Today I am immensely proud to say that we have reached yet another milestone… for our educational care system, for Statian children with special… but also for St. Eustatius.

This is due to the great commitment and joint effort of the teaching staff at the schools and the special education professionals of the Expertise Centre Education Care … who are prepared to contribute their knowledge, abilities, and efforts, selflessly, day in... day out.

Because of you, we stand in front of a completely new resource centre that will cater to children with special needs. This is an achievement not to be underestimated and worthy of a big compliment. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each one of you for your continued professionalism, excellence, and dedication.

For those who are not familiar with the Expertise Centre Education Care…it was established 11 years ago, in 2011,

to provide external care to children with cognitive, psycho-social, emotional, communicative, and physical challenges in the school system. The special education teachers in this Centre support the teachers in schools in working with students with developmental issues affecting their learning and behaviour.

Throughout these past 11 years, great progress was made. The schools and the Expertise Centre offer a good basic quality for quite some years now.

But, at the same time, it has become clear that we have now reached a point where we are reaching the limits of
the educational care system. And it is a point of concern for us that some children cannot, or insufficiently, be provided with, the correct educational care if needed. That is the reason why the local government funded the housing of this new resource centre and why the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in the Netherlands decided to provide a new subsidy scheme for the calendar years 2021 to 2025 for the Expertise Centre. This is very good news and thanks to all your efforts to make education for children with special needs a priority. In closing I would like to leave you with this quote by Robert John Meehan. “It should not matter how slowly a child learns. What matters is that we never encourage them to stop trying”.   Let us be ever reminded that children with special needs require love, care, guidance, encouragement, positive influence and a life teacher just like all other children.

Congratulations on this great achievement!

Thank you!