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  • The number of secondary institutions offering Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programmes is to be increased to nine, come the 2015/16 academic year.
  • Chief Education Officer, Dr. Grace McLean, made the disclosure during the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) recent two-day labour market forum at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
  • She informed that the Ministry of Education has identified and shortlisted eight additional schools across the island that will either be transformed into full STEM academies, or have the subjects incorporated into their curricula.

The number of secondary institutions offering Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programmes is to be increased to nine, come the 2015/16 academic year.

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Grace McLean, made the disclosure during the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) recent two-day labour market forum at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

She informed that the Ministry of Education has identified and shortlisted eight additional schools across the island that will either be transformed into full STEM academies, or have the subjects incorporated into their curricula.

Jamaica College in St. Andrew; Manchester High School, Manchester; and Belmont Academy, Westmoreland, will become full academies. These that will have a STEM focus are: Kingston Technical High School, St. Andrew Technical High School, and Dunoon Park Technical High School in Kingston; Vere Technical High School, Clarendon; and Herbert Morrison Technical High School, St. James.

They will join Sydney Pagon Agricultural High School in St. Elizabeth as the institutions that have STEM programmes incorporated into their curricula.

Sydney Pagon’s programme came on stream at the start of the 2014/15 academic year in September.

Dr. McLean said the Ministry has already commenced preparations for the transitions at the institutions. She said that the move is based on labour market information, which points to the need to “prepare our young people” for STEM-oriented jobs, and better position Jamaica to be globally competitive in these areas.

She noted that the Ministry is integrating STEM within the education system and “the national curriculum that is now being developed from grades one to nine will see the full infusion and integration of STEM (at these levels).”

“Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics will be fully infused in a practical way so that you develop the skills in a project-type problem-based environment (to ensure that what is being taught and learnt) …will become real and applicable,” she added.

Dr. McLean said the Ministry is being assisted and guided, in this regard, by a “broad-based” STEM Committee, chaired by Director General Emeritus of the International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences (ICENS), and former Principal, University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Mona Campus, St. Andrew, Professor Gerald Lalor.

The membership, she advised, comprises representatives from other tertiary institutions as well as the private sector.

The forum, which was held under the theme: ‘Promoting Youth Employability and Entrepreneurship through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)’, was held to disseminate labour market information to a select group of participants to enable them to make informed career choices.

The PIOJ organised the event in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Labour Market Information Technical Advisory Committee (LMITAC); HEART Trust/NTA; and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

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