Minister of Education, Science and Culture


Michael Ashwin Adhin served as the minister of Education, Science and Culture from 2013 until 2015. He was appointed as Minister of Education in the cabinet of President Desire Delano Bouterse, in July 2013, replacing Shirley Sitaldin. The then, Ministry of Education

and People's Development (Minov), underwent a name change under his term and

became "the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture". This name change was established by State Decree of March 27, 2015. As minister of Education Adhin's policy

was to provide more students with the opportunity to continue studying through a

broadened student finance system. He also focused on increasing the quality of

education through adaptation of the curriculum at all levels. During his term as

minister, he led one of the major reconstruction of the ministry in order to improve

the results within the educational field in Suriname.

These changes include:

  1. The launch of the Suriname National Training Authority

  2. Student loans for capacity development

  3. The Introduction of ICT in Education

  4. Pre-College bridging Institute and evening school

  5. Transition Institute Secondary Education

  6. Young entrepreneurship

ICT in Education

In October 2014 Adhin introduced two ICT in Education courses, as well as a 3 years course leading to the Bachelor in Education (B.ed) degree. These courses were meant to target educators and are in line with Adhin's policy priorities as the minister of Education, Science and Culture to upgrade and professionalize the sector and to prepare for technological developments and challenges within education in general. Adhin was able to bring international professionals on board in order to realize the plans within a period of 4 months.

Pre-College Bridging Institute and Evening School

Education is meant to reach as many as possible. In order to reach this goal Adhin officially launched the opening of Suriname's first Pre-college Bridging Institute in April 2015. With this institute increasing the opportunities were created for more students to attend pre-college. The opening and launch of the Evening Pre-College also served the same purpose.

Transition Institute Secondary Education

In order to provide more young people with the opportunity to move up the social ladder and to offer 'early drop-outs' a second chance, the transition system towards secondary education was adjusted. With the adjustment students from Primary Vocational Education (LBGO) could now also participate in the entrance exams for secondary education level of VWO and HAVO by completing the 'Transition Institute for Secondary Education (SMO)', which was officially launched on 27 April 2015. Before the launch of this institute these students could only transfer to the Institute for Secondary Economic and Administrative Education (IMEAO). The SMO course started in 2014 with 200 students and would exist in its current form until 2020, after which more courses will be added to the curriculum. SMO students were also given the opportunity apply for student loans. 3rd year students of the Muloschool  who had failed the exams twice could also enroll in SMO. In June 2016 SMO moved to its own building at the Metaalstraat in Paramaribo, at that time the institute had 570 students and over 26 teachers. 

Young Entrepreneurship

As minister of education Adhin created opportunities for young entrepreneurs to invest in themselves, with the establishment of the Suriname National Training Authority, as well as several ICT training courses.

Suriname National Training Authority

In August 2013 Michael Ashwin Adhin launched the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) method of education in Suriname. A taskforce was installed on November 1, 2013, to work towards the establishment of a National Training Authority making use of an existing Caricom strategy on this subject. This national authority was to be responsible for closing the gap between the output of th education system and the demand of the private sector labor markets; the certification of various professions as well as the quality assurance of courses within the Suriname education system.

Student loans for capacity development
Adhin increased the study opportunities for Surinamese by expanding the student finance system, so that students from accredited Higher Professional and Secondary Education institutions in Suriname could also be eligible to apply for a student loan. Prior to this change the student loans were only available for University students and students at the Institute of Teacher Training Institute (IOL). Surinamese students who study or do an internship abroad can now also qualify for funding for their tuition fees and a monthly allowance. According to Adhin, these measures were needed in order to work toward capacity development.
The student finance fund, which in January 2015 contained 61 million Surinaamse Dollars, was managed by the National Development Bank (NOB). The NOB makes the funds available to the students through a loan agreement at 4% interest per year. The monthly benefit for students in Suriname in 2015 was set at a maximum amount of srd 875, - while the amount for students abroad depended on the financial costs in the country where they were located. Students with exemplary school performance could also qualify for a waiver of interest or part of the interest. In 2015, 1,500 students were already using the student finance opportunities, of which 400 had already graduated and 170 had already repaid their loans.
 

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