5 February, 2021 – Sint Maarten – A new ICT Infrastructure project currently being developed by the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports has entered its final stage of development after attaining initial concept approval.
The current proposal request stands at EUR 240,000. The project is being developed with technical assistance through the 11th European Development Fund’s Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme for Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (RESEMBID).
The project aims to create greater equity in access to e-learning among local students, while reducing disruptions to the territory’s education system in the wake of recurrent and extreme natural events such as hurricanes, and the now conceivable global pandemic. Upon approval of the final project design, the project is expected to benefit more than 500 students and teachers across Montserrat.
According to an official communication from the Ministry, “These systems must be in place to allow us to continue to provide education to children through remote access without physically attending school”, a necessary and timely provision amidst local efforts at preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The new system, which will provide laptops for students and teachers, upgraded facilities for e-testing, subsidized mobile hotspots for vulnerable youth, and training for teachers, is expected to deliver on the Government’s Agenda Item on improved educational outcomes and the National ICT Policy objectives.
With funding available under the fast-tracked €10 million RESEMBID COVID-19 Resilience Response Facility, local Education officials are now moving swiftly towards submitting a completed project design for review and final approval.
Approved by the European Union and Expertise France on Monday, 6th April 2020, The RESEMBID COVID-19 Resilience Response Facility supports the twelve Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) in their efforts at managing and responding to the impact of the Novel Coronavirus.
The Facility was established against the backdrop of overwhelmed public health systems across the OCTs, and the deepening social and economic challenges within the region.
With funding provided by the European Union under the 11th European Development Fund, the Facility is a component of RESEMBID – a €40 million technical assistance programme that supports the sustainable human development efforts of the Caribbean OCTs.
RESEMBID commenced operations in January 2019, and is being implemented by Expertise France – the development cooperation agency of France – in collaboration with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and the twelve Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).
The twelve participating OCTs are Anguilla, Aruba, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Barthélemy, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, and Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Silveria E. Jacobs, serves as the Programme’s Regional Authorizing Officer.