Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says that enhancing science education in schools and is crucial to improving the country’s productivity levels.
"It is imperative that we enhance the performance of our students in computer science – indeed in all the science subjects…and to foster critical thinking skills," he said, noting that this will positively impact the level of application of science and technology to production.
He was making his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate on July 24 in the House of Representatives.
Noting that 90 per cent of Jamaica’s exports are still raw-material based, and only six per cent is medium to high-tech manufactures, Minister Paulwell said the situation must be reversed if Jamaica is to remain competitive.
He pointed to the need for adequate policy and legislative framework to support science, technology and innovation (STI); greater levels of STI investment; a well-coordinated National Innovation System; a strong research and innovation culture; and sufficient public-private partnerships.
"Our failure to address these critical issues accounts for our low scores in three key benchmarks used to determine our international rank in STI – domestic patents registered, scientific publications and expenditure on research and development (R&D),” he said.