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Interim Director for the Malvern Science Research Centre (MSRC), Monica Myers, has said that for the country to achieve sustainable levels of economic prosperity, the promulgation of science and technology should be at the heart of any long-term programme being advanced by the education sector.
Commenting on a 1991 study conducted by Dr. Ethley London, Mrs. Myers said that the research indicated that at the present rate, for Jamaica to have one person per hundred employed in a science-related job, it would take 40 years, given the current thrust in education.
The study, she said also showed that “only one in five children age 11-13 would go on to attend a high school and of the few who reach this far even fewer will attempt and pass science subjects that would allow them to move up to the college level. this is one of the main reasons which lead to the founding of the MSRC in 1992”.
Mrs. Myers pointed out that the MSRC was managed by the MASTHEAD Foundation (Manchester Association of Secondary, Tertiary Schools’ Health Education and Associated Development), which was incorporated in 1986.
“Our terms of reference are to improve the quality of science and technology education among the students in the parish of St. Elizabeth, as well as to provide on-going support services for science teachers in the parish,” she explained.
The Interim Director noted that due to a number of unfortunate occurrences the MSRC had been closed for nearly two years.
“I am proud to say that we are now once again open to the public, the reality at this point however, is that the main building is badly in need of repairs, we are using this medium to appeal for help from the wider community.this can take the form of funding, service or material donation,” she said.
Giving details about the repairs that were needed at the MRSC, Mrs Myers said, “the roof and ceiling need replacing, there are a number of walls which have also deteriorated, we have to definitely replace an air tank, do plumbing repairs, painting.we need a small stove and fridge, a new sink for the kitchenette, telephones and some computers”.
Highlighting what she described as “notable achievements,” of the MRSC, Mrs. Myers said that up to its closure in 2001, the centre was active in spearheading and participating in programmes that expanded the “window” of science to include environmental issues such as solar energy, appropriate land use and recycling.
“This was done through workshops, discussions and demonstrations, a computer lab was set up as well as a special programme to take science to the schools through a mobile “science on wheels” unit.currently we have over 5,000 science books along with supporting video cassettes available for use by the schools and teachers in our parish, we are anxious to effect the repairs so that we can protect our books from moisture and water damage,” she said.
Mrs. Myers informed that for the future, the MSRC intended to continue to facilitate research and study for the over 750 students of Bethlehem Moravian College.
“To this number one can add the over 800 students of Hampton, those of Munro as well as Munro College, we also intend to reconnect with the 75 primary and all age schools, as well as the 11 secondary schools in the parish.we will be revamping our ‘science on wheels’ as this is one mode of providing continuous support for local science teachers,” she stated.
Interested persons, groups or organisations wishing to contact the MSRC can do so at (876) 966-5299 or (876) 966-5010.