Sint Maarten secures scholarships from India

June 13, 2024 6:29 pm

The Government of Sint Maarten has been awarded two training slots for participation in the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Program. Operated by the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ITEC is a program that offers both onsite and online courses and trainings. It also provides for exchange of technical expertise and capacity building. In this pilot stage, Sint Maarten will have access to the short-term courses. The Government, through the Department of Foreign Relations, has been lobbying with the Indian Government through its Embassies in Venezuela, Panama, and the Netherlands for inclusion in the program. “Over the last few years, engagement with the Indian Government increased significantly, and the Cabinet (Sint Maarten House) worked tirelessly to support and nurture this relationship. I want to recognize the efforts of my predecessor Mr. Rene Violenes, the staff of the cabinet, and my former colleagues at the Department of Foreign Relations, for the efforts made in getting us here”, stated Minister Plenipotentiary Patrice Gumbs.

During the 4th Small Island Developing States Conference, held in Antigua and Barbuda at the end of May, Minister Gumbs spoke about the importance of education in the development of a people and the need for innovative education. Minister Gumbs emphasized the value of a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics)-based education to be ready for the opportunities of the future and in the development of healthy and sustainable communities. India has a long history and expertise in STEAM, and in particular engineering. Gumbs stated that “Having access to this program gives another avenue to students and professionals interested in vocational education and trade skills, which is a critical need in our local labor market. It also offers an opportunity to be educated from an entirely different perspective and experience a different culture and way of thinking.”

Access to the ITEC Program marks the third longstanding initiative that Sint Maarten has with a foreign country. ITEC covers 158 countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and several Pacific and Caribbean nations. Since its inception, the program has spent over US$ 2 billion and benefited thousands of students and professionals from around the globe and annual expenditure on the program has averaged US$ 100 million per annum in recent years.​