Three students of Queen’s College have been granted the honour of participating in the Innovation in Science and
Engineering (SPISE) Programme slated to be held at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill, Barbados campus.
Those selected are Cecil Cox, who topped the Caribbean in the Sciences last year, Benedict Sukra and Lawrence Faria. They are expected to commence their training on July 19, 2014.
The Ministry of Education in a release issued yesterday said that it is pleased to announce that the three have been accepted to the programme.
SPISE is a four-week residential summer programme for Caribbean high-school students who are gifted in science and engineering, and interested in studying and exploring careers in these fields. During the four weeks, students will be completely immersed (24/7) in university-level Calculus, Physics, Biochemistry, Entrepreneurship, Mandarin, One-Caribbean studies, and hands-on projects in robotics and electronics and computer programming.
The three young ambassadors, according to the Ministry’s release, will be exposed and coached by role models from the Diaspora and the Region on career paths and choices, and assisted with their university application packages and internship applications to research centres in the Region and abroad. The goal is to help address the low numbers of Caribbean students pursuing advanced degrees in science and engineering.
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, in commending the selection said that “I am extremely proud of the students who were selected to an academically elite programme and who will be ambassadors of Guyana for their stay there.”
Minister Manickchand also expressed approval of the continuous development of the Education Sector stressing that “our system has improved so tremendously evidenced by the fact that our Guyanese boys and girls are repeatedly competing internationally and
This programme, along with the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge (SVC), is one of the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF)’s initiatives, with the long-term goal of helping to diversify the economies of the Region and raise the standard of living of the people by stimulating more technology-based entrepreneurship within the Region.
Key important partners of the CSF are the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).
SPISE is modelled after the well-known and highly successful Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) programmes.
The SPISE environment discourages rote learning, and teaches the students how to focus on understanding and applying the fundamentals to achieve mastery of the material, and thus to be able to solve complex problems.
Although grades are not emphasized; mastery of the subject is. Moreover, it was noted that SPISE is not a summer camp and is therefore not designed for the average student. The value of teamwork (learned in the hands-on projects) is yet another essential skill that is emphasized, along with proactive time-management skills.
Last year two Guyanese students – Ms. Janelle Codagan and Ms. Vanessa Narine, also of Queens College – were selected to participate in the programme.
Applicants must be at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age on July 1, and have completed CXC exams or
equivalent in Mathematics and Science subjects.
The programme culminates with student project competitions in which each student team first gives an oral presentation of their hands-on project before demonstrating the workings of their project. These final competitions are open to the public, sponsors and parents who are encouraged to attend and cheer for the students. It is anticipated that students who complete the SPISE will attend some of the best science and engineering universities in the world, and join the next generation of science, engineering and business leaders in academia and industry within the Caribbean.
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