KINGSTON — The teaching of Mathematics in Jamaica is set to receive a major boost through membership of Jamaica's educational institutions and teachers in the Commonwealth Association of Science Technology and Mathematics Educators (CASTME).
The country's access to the facility was launched at the Mico University College, Marescaux Road Campus in Kingston on Friday, November 4.
CASTME is a professional organisation that links Science, Technology and Mathematics (STM) Educators across the British Commonwealth and is head quartered in London, with regional branches in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean,and Europe.
The organisation seeks to: enhance the teaching and learning of STM throughout the Commonwealth; relate STM education to its social and environmental contexts; and to encourage the teaching of STM in an increasingly integrated way.
The objectives of CASTME is being achieved through a number of activities including:international seminars and regional conferences; workshops to produce teaching/learning materials; and an annual Award Scheme for teachers and teacher-educators who display innovative methodologies in their work.
Among the many benefits to be derived from membership in CASTME are:membership in a Commonwealth-wide network; assistance with projects; funding and conference opportunities; training in practical activities; and writing and publishing of educational materials.
Bringing greetings, Lecturer in Education and Research Associate, Institute of Education, University of London, Dr. Lady Sue Dale Tunncliffe, expressed delight at the prospect of local educational institutions and professionals availing themselves of membership in CASTME.
Sharing her sentiments, President of Jamaica’s Science Teachers’ Association, Donavan Edwards pledged the full support of his organisation and the hope that Mathematics and Science teachers across the island will seek membership.
Meanwhile, guest speaker at the launch, Principal of Jamaica College, and Adviser to the Minister of Education, Ruel Reid spoke to the timeliness of the development. “It comes at a time when our country recognises that the solution to the problem of economic development lies within the creation of human and social capital."
Mr. Reid observed that high levels of innovation, sound educational policies and consensus among stakeholders have had a significant impact on the social and economic development of countries.
He emphasised, “Although Jamaica has made significant strides, the current innovation environment is still inadequate to catalyse and support sustained development…the launch of CASTME is indeed another step which will assist in developing the critical thinking skills so that they can compete globally."
He reinforced the concept with the observation that the world economy requires not only “knowledge industries, but also the capacity of labour to use brain power to produce economic benefits."
Pointing to the way forward, Mr. Reid called for greater efforts to dispel the “fear of science, technology and mathematics” among too many students. He also called for higher pay for “a higher status” of teachers so that education can attract and retain higher quality teachers.
CASTME accommodates institutional as well as individual membership. Institutional membership is designed for organisations such as a Ministry of Education, a library or a specialist teachers' association.
The launch of the Commonwealth educational fraternity in Jamaica comes in the follows the recent observance of the annual Research Day by Mico University College, designed to provide a forum where academic researchers, educators, educational administrators, and related practitioners share their research experience.
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter