During September, the UPG team met with the Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten Michael Somersal, kicking-off a project that the Unleashed Potential Group Foundation is currently working on.
The kick-off was held by The Groothandelsgebouw in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The founder of OCDLab Maheep Gupta facilitated it.
This project is part of a platform that has recently been developed to facilitate cooperation between Sint Maarteners living on the island and living in the Netherlands. The idea behind this platform is the triple helix model of innovation in which academia, industry, organisations, companies and the Government of Sint Maarten work together, to foster economic and social development.
This platform is called Platform 721.
Members of Platform 721 created a list of areas that can best benefit from the triple helix model of innovation. UPG decided to work on the challenge of “exploring partnerships and avenues to promote e-learning on Sint Maarten.”
During the kick-off meeting, the Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten Michael Somersal explained to us the issues that Sint Maarten is facing when it comes to developing our educational system. He also gave us points to take into consideration if we want to have an impact in the field of education. Members of UPG spoke about how an e-learning system can be used to provide people the opportunity to study alongside their jobs and in doing so to obtain better jobs. Our angle is that people want to keep climbing to get the job and live of their dreams. If you provide them with the opportunity to go forward, people go forward. Maheep Gupta of OCDLab encouraged us to get in touch with the people whom we want to reach. If you want a system that works you have to make sure your solving a actual problem people has, not just something in our heads.
Our next step will be to find out the different parties that would be interested in contributing to such a platform.
The end goal is to create a concrete proposal to expand e-learning opportunities on Sint Maarten. This proposal will then be presented to to the Government of Sint Maarten and educational institutions on the island.
After our kick-off meeting, UPG also met with other members of the Platform 721 and informed them of our findings. During this meeting, we understood that other partners of Platform 721 are working on areas that relate to what we want to do. We believe that we get more done by working together with our people so we will certainly get in contact with these members. We will keep you informed as things develop.
In the picture from left to right: Maheep Gupta (OCD Labs), Carlvin Brooks (Chairman of UPG), Jason James (Educational Policy and Research Officer), Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten Michael Somersal, Jennifer Hodge, Embrice de Weever, Carlton Brooks & Mechellin Hodge (Secretary of the Board & Social Media & Marketing Specialist).