The hope for many students who are unable to go abroad to continue their education, may be dashed when the University of St. Martin officially closes its doors at the end of October. The Institution has been struggling to financially survive in an educational system and a Government that doesn’t seem to recognize the importance of such an institution for the development and educational training of its people, to provide the necessary funding.
According to the president of USM Mr. Francio Guadeloupe, the Government should bear the responsibility of guaranteeing the education of its society, and not the business community who have been supplementing the budget of the University all these years but have since fallen away because of hurricane Irma. They have said they are unable to continue funding the Institution. Therefore, the University will now have to knock on the doors of Government to keep the funding in place and increase its subsidy to keep the doors open. If this doesn’t happen said Guadeloupe then the University will have to be closed.
There have been meetings held with parents and students outlining the situation at USM. What will happen to those students who are about to complete their degrees? No one knows for sure, the students are the real losers here. They feel powerless at this stage, when it comes to their education and the future of the University. In order to give voice to their inner pain, and that of the collective group at the academy, they have decided to start a petition drive, on line to help keep the doors open. One of the professors says the plea is a polite way of saying to government everyone at the University is together on this one point of saving the Institution for the future of education for those people who cannot afford to leave the Island or acquire a scholarship to further their education abroad.
The Government cannot go about reconstruction of the Island post Irma, the same way they have been doing business before. The approach should be realistic and prioritized and education should be one area of focus. If education is important to the development of our country and its people surely, the government can’t afford to lose the opportunity to salvage the University and secure the possibility of providing university level education for its citizens here at home. All eyes are on the Ministry of Education and the Council of ministers on how they plan to handle the future of USM.