Feb 20, 2013 News Comments Off on STEM has important role in national development
– Science Coordinator
While attaining the title of bread basket of the Caribbean is not out of Guyana’s reach, such a feat may not be attainable without the application of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
At least this is according to Science Coordinator and Country Representative for the Caribbean Science Foundation, Ms Petal Punalall-Jettoo, who during an interview with this publication accentuated the importance of the educational disciplines which are now internationally referred to as STEM.
She pointed to the fact that STEM has the potential to help communities and by extension countries “where we can look at what is around us and address them.” However, she cautioned that many times “we as a country feel that our problems should be solved by somebody else. Our history lies as a British colony, so we always felt that it was our mother country to take care of us, but now we are independent, we have to look at the challenges that the world faces and see how we can solve those problems ourselves,” said Punalall-Jettoo.
She explained that failure on the part of Guyana to embrace STEM has caused it to deny itself of fully embracing the famous bread basket label.
“We have not realised that, because it would take science, technology, engineering and mathematics to make our products competitive with those that come in from the developed countries, and that is just one area of development,” she added.
Moreover, Punalall-Jettoo said that with focus remaining trained on STEM, it is anticipated that within the next five years the Ministry of Education will be in a better position to see more teachers as well as students embracing it.
“I can see down the road more and more teachers and students will realise the usefulness of STEM as tools for development…It would help them to realise that what was done as an SBA is not just an experiment, but this can be transformed into a project or into a business idea, so these are the useful applications of an initiative that we have started.”
It is believed that such an objective could be achieved through various collaborations, primarily with the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). It is the view of Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of CXC, Dr Didacus Jules, that once CXC remains consistent with its reform of School Based Assessments (SBAs) it will encourage schools to use the documentation of the initiatives undertaken for the preparation of their SBAs in the STEM subjects.
Moreover, he explained that the creative application of knowledge and the demonstration of innovation, civic responsibility and problem-solving are critical elements of the new approach to SBAs and these are central to the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge. Through the Sagicor Group of companies located in Trinidad and Tobago, the importance of STEM is being emphasised through competition among secondary-age students across the Caribbean.
It is expected that this move could in fact help to effectively transform the Caribbean’s education system by making “our approach to teaching/learning relevant and current,” said Dr Jules. He is of the firm belief that this STEM-oriented challenge uses the CXC syllabus in a creative and exciting way that allows teachers and students to not just see science, technology, engineering and mathematics as school subjects, but feeds a new perspective and way of life.
Moreover, Punalall-Jettoo said that the vision is that since CXC is involved in the Sagicor Challenge, where it is part of the curriculum, “it is not just about organising a cricket match and somebody wins. It is about the long term vision, learning for life, and the skills that the students and teachers would gather from this experience will help them with their tertiary education.”
Sagicor, the Caribbean Science Foundation and CXC together strongly believe that the innovation in STEM must play a critical role in overcoming the challenges to building successful sustainable communities. As a result they have developed the challenge to: boost institutional capacity in STEM in the secondary schools in the Challenge Countries; ignite interest among Caribbean youth for innovation in STEM to help build and integrate sustainable communities throughout the Caribbean and to integrate knowledge gained from formal and informal education to enable future leaders to build a more sustainable Caribbean.
Sep 15, 2019Briton John stormed to victory in the feature 35-lap race of the Triskits Biscuit, Midwest tea biscuit cycle event which was contested yesterday at inner circuit of the National Park. John took an...
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]