Sint Maarten Trust Fund Approves US$26.8 million to Rebuild Inclusive Schools and Restore Library Services

PHILIPSBURG —Today, the Government of Sint Maarten and the World Bank signed a US$26.8 million grant agreement for the Fostering Resilient Learning Project. The project aims to rebuild the Sister Marie Lawrence (SML) and Charles Leopold Bell (CLB) schools, to restore access to library services through the reconstruction of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL), and to strengthen the government’s management information system for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (MECYS).

The infrastructure of Sint Maarten’s education sector was significantly damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, with detrimental effects on children’s learning environments. As a result, access to schooling and to the extra-curricular programs of the SML and CLB schools – including those targeting special needs and at-risk youth and students – either were discontinued or could not be implemented as planned. Moreover, the PJL – a critical center for literacy, culture, and artistic expression in Sint 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 reconstruction of Sister Marie Laurence and Charles Leopold Bell schools and of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library will improve learning environments and strengthen human capital in the country,” said Lilia Burunciuc, World Bank Director for the Caribbean. “I am delighted that this project will reopen access to critical educational and learning services, especially for those Sint Maarten youth who have special needs or are at-risk.”

The project will also support the development of a comprehensive management information system to inform Government decision-making and oversight of the education, culture, youth, and sport sectors.

“Strengthening the MECYS’s management information 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 the National Recovery Program Bureau, the implementing agency of the project.

The project complements ongoing activities financed by the Trust Fund. These activities include the repair of 19 schools under the Emergency Recovery Project, the strengthening of the child protection and education system under the Child Resilience and Protection Project, and the support provided by R4CR (Civil Society Partnership for Resilience Project) 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.