- “Getting them (equipment) will move us from one dimension to the next, in a positive way,” states Science teacher at the St. Andrew based Bull Bay All Age School
- Using technology to enhance Science will produce results. Jamaica has a number of students who are really brilliant, and with this project going to schools, I am sure that we are going to do well
- Also, the project is geared at increasing critical and problem-solving skills of students, and the improvement of teacher competencies in Science, which should translate into an overall increase in successful examinations at the primary and secondary schools.
Educators say positive results will emerge from the Government’s two-year Science in education project, being funded by the European Union (EU) at a cost of over $130 million.
The project is targeting eight schools, and is being implemented by the Scientific Research Council (SRC), with an aim to increase the appreciation of Science, Technology and Innovation among the student population.
This will be done by outfitting science laboratories, establishing Science Centres, and engaging teachers through summer workshops and Sumer camps.
At a recent ceremony held in Kingston, where the schools received computer gadgets for the aiding of Science teaching, the teachers shared with JIS News their delight of getting the equipment, which they are confident will make the subject easier to learn.
“Getting them (equipment) will move us from one dimension to the next, in a positive way,” states Science teacher at the St. Andrew based Bull Bay All Age School, Lorraine Francis, even as she commends the SRC for including primary schools on the intervention project.
“Because, building a good foundation is the key to success. They (students) will become more appreciative of Science, I thank the EU, and I can promise them that using these equipment, the children will have a more broaden knowledge base on Science, and grow to love it; not seeing Science as a hard subject, but part of their daily lives,” she says.
Also grateful for the project, is Acting Principal at the Portland based Windsor Castle All Age School, Beverly Clarkes, who says her teachers and students will make “the best use” of the opportunity that the projects provides.
“Using technology to enhance Science will produce results. Jamaica has a number of students who are really brilliant, and with this project going to schools, I am sure that we are going to do well,” she says.
Other partners on the project are the Mico University College; the Mandeville based Church Teachers’ College, and the University of Technology (UTech). The three institutions have established Science programmes, and are working with schools to develop their Science capacity.
Science Coordinator at the Church Teachers College, Tillack Hadeen, informs that students in Manchester, Clarendon and St. Elizabeth, are being given the opportunity “where they will have hands-on dealing with the current concept that they have issues with.”
Manager at the Mico Centre of Excellence in Science Teaching, Rohan Carr, shared that they plan and design programmes for schools,, while adding that children who participate in their school visit initiative, always show improved results.
He notes that at Mico, they ensure that the subject is taught in way that encourages the participation of children, “thereby increase the capacity of the kids.”
The schools were selected for the intervention project base on analysis of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) data. It is envisioned that the initiative will guide school administrators and teachers to implement Science activities that are of interest to both teachers and students.
Also, the project is geared at increasing critical and problem-solving skills of students, and the improvement of teacher competencies in Science, which should translate into an overall increase in successful examinations at the primary and secondary schools.
The Science project is part of a Regional EU funded programme, called the Improving Innovation Capacities in the Caribbean (INVOCAB) and, according to Project Manager for the Jamaican component, Kerry-Ann Curtis, the project aims to realize at least a 10 per cent increase in external examinations for the participating schools.
She says the involvement of the three tertiary institutions should “result in a significant boost in the critical thinking and analytical skills of teachers and students involved.
“The establishment of Science centres in particular, is geared towards widening the impact of the project outside of the eight schools selected for intervention,” she outlines, while sharing the experience of students and Jamaican officials who participated in Science summer camps last August in Trinidad and Tobago.
“The camps involved the children in age appropriate activities, and made the link between Science, and everyday important activities, such as road safety, the effects of natural disasters on Caribbean islands, the impact of robotics on completing tasks, and computer programming,” she informs, stressing that Jamaica should organize similar camps for primary and secondary students.
The INVOCAB project aims to contribute towards improving the levels of innovation in the Caribbean, by building and strengthening capacities in the areas of Science, Technology and Innovation, as an enabler of poverty reduction, growth and socio-economic development of countries in the Region.
Created to improve teachers’ capacities in Science education, the EU funded initiative is set to strengthen innovation framework in the selected schools.
Head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Paola Amadei, tells JIS News that Science is relevant for all careers, and children to do well in the subject, they need to start at an early age.
“In order to excel in Science, you ought to start early…we want to capture children’s imagination and interest for Science and Mathematics, while they are young, and help them in the process,” the Ambassador says while explaining the objective of the Science project.