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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Fifty-one students have been awarded Mathematics and Science Education scholarships, to pursue degree programmes at teacher training institutions across the island.
  • The initiative, valued at $14 million, is the first phase of a drive, by the Education Ministry, to increase the quantity and quality of instructors in these subject areas.
  • Speaking with JIS News at a press briefing held at the Ministry’s head office in Kingston on October 9, National Mathematics Coordinator, Dr. Tamika Benjamin explained that there is a significant deficit in the system in terms of fully qualified mathematics teachers.

Fifty-one students have been awarded Mathematics and Science Education scholarships, to pursue degree programmes at teacher training institutions across the island.

The initiative, valued at $14 million, is the first phase of a drive, by the Education Ministry, to increase the quantity and quality of instructors in these subject areas.

Speaking with JIS News at a press briefing held at the Ministry’s head office in Kingston on October 9, National Mathematics Coordinator, Dr. Tamika Benjamin explained that there is a significant deficit in the system in terms of fully qualified mathematics teachers.

She noted that the country lost quite a few of its maths and science teachers, who were recruited to work in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

“When we look at the data for mathematics, we have about 1800 teachers in the system and only about 10 per cent of that figure are fully qualified to teach up to grade 11. There is another 700 that are diploma trained….which means that they really should not be teaching beyond grade nine. So we felt we had to accelerate the plan (to fill this deficit),” she stated.

Of the total scholarship awardees, 42 have received full tuition, four received tuition and boarding, while the remaining five received partial tuition funding.

Upon completion of the programme, the scholarship recipients will be bonded for five years, during which time they will be placed in institutions, where there is a need for qualified math and science teachers.

“We want to specifically place them in schools that need them, rather than going into the schools, that already have qualified teachers. This is also a possible route for those schools to improve the quality of math teaching and learning, and improve the students’ performance in the long run,” she stated.

Meanwhile in offering his congratulations to the beneficiaries Education Minister, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites said that their participation, in the initiative, is important to improving the quality of teachers in these subject areas.

“If we are going to advance as a knowledge economy, then success in mathematics and science is essential. What we must do is train….those of you who are interested in using your gifts in this way. The initiative has been instigated in order to begin to catch up with the numbers that are needed, and you are among the first recipients,” he said.

The scholarship awardees commenced studies under the scholarship programme in September at the Shortwood Teachers’ College, Church Teachers’ College, Mico University College, the University of Technology and the University of the West Indies.

The Ministry aims to recruit 200 mathematics and science teacher trainees through the scholarship programme. The application period will be opened again in 2016.

Applicants must possess grade one and two passes in mathematics and science in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency examinations, demonstrate financial need and have a disposition for teaching.