Education Minister Wants More Students to Attend Sydney Pagon STEM Academy

Photo: JIS Photographer Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites (2nd left), being welcomed by students of the Sydney Pagon Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy on December 3, when he toured the institution. Others (from left) are: Bursar at the school, Sharlene Grindley; Acting Principal, Marlene Edwards Gayle and Vice Principal, Natalie Roper Allen.

Story Highlights

  • Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is urging the administration at the Sydney Pagon STEM Academy in Braes River, St. Elizabeth, to place emphasis on getting more students to attend the school and to get them involved in vocational areas, especially agriculture.
  • In addition to the focus on agriculture, the Minister said efforts must also be made to have the school earn its way.
  • While on a tour of the school on December 3, Rev. Thwaites said he is satisfied with the academic performance of the institution one year after it became Jamaica’s first Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) academy.

Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is urging the administration at the Sydney Pagon STEM Academy in Braes River, St. Elizabeth, to place emphasis on getting more students to attend the school and to get them involved in vocational areas, especially agriculture.

In addition to the focus on agriculture, the Minister said efforts must also be made to have the school earn its way.

While on a tour of the school on December 3, Rev. Thwaites said he is satisfied with the academic performance of the institution one year after it became Jamaica’s first Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) academy.

He noted that the school is costing the Government over $100 million annually and he has asked the administration to put together a plan outlining how available resources can be used to help the institution to be self sufficient.

The Minister pointed out that while the school currently has 277 students on roll, it has a capacity for  477, and  that with the establishment of additional classrooms in a few years, the Sydney Pagon STEM Academy will be able to accommodate 1,200 students.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for North East St. Elizabeth, where the Sydney Pagon STEM Academy is located, Mr. Raymond Pryce, spoke of possible partnerships that can be forged with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), to build the agricultural capacity of the school.

He is also looking at the benefits that can be reaped from agriculture and value-added products as well as ornamentals grown at the school and being sold to the tourism sector.

The Sydney Pagon STEM Academy is a 500-acre property, with almost 200 acres devoted to sugar cane cultivation.

 

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