The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) recently pumped $15 million into equipment for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and training aimed at benefiting approximately 31 schools, 120 teachers and 4,500 students in Jamaica.
This initiative is a sub-project of the ‘Integrated Community Development Project: Youth Education and Recreation Project’, which is funded by the Government and a loan from the World Bank.
The project is being implemented through a partnership between JSIF and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.
The parishes that will benefit are Kingston, St. Andrew, Clarendon, St. Catherine, St. James, St. Ann and Westmoreland.
The specific project locations are in St. James – Lethe All-Age School, Roehampton Primary School, Granville All-Age School, Barrett Town All-Age School, Anchovy Primary School, John Rollins Success Primary School and Bickersteth Primary & Infant School; and in Kingston – Denham Town Primary School, St. Alban’s School, St. Anne’s Primary School, Chetolah Park Primary School, North Street Primary School, Trench Town Primary School and Central Branch All-Age School.
To benefit in St. Andrew are Boys’ Town All-Age School, Maxfield Park Primary School, Rousseau Primary School, Greenwich Town Primary School and St. Andrew Primary School; St. Catherine – Eltham Primary School, Spanish Town Primary School and Ensom City Primary School; Clarendon – Treadlight Primary School, York Town Primary School and Hazard Primary School; St. Ann – Steer Town Primary and Junior High School; and in Westmoreland – Llandilo School for Special Education, and Sir Clifford Campbell Primary School.
An online handover ceremony and the launch of the STEM training took place on April 30.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, said the initiative will increase the level of innovation and thinking required for careers and economic advancement in Jamaica.
“I’m elated at this… . It’s very timely because our National Standards Curriculum is STEM-based, but as you know, that requires teachers to be totally immersed in the methodology. It is different from the traditional way of teaching. It requires integration of subjects,” Mrs. Williams said.
“STEM tends to be inquiry-based… the whole purpose of it is to help students,” the Minister added.
Mrs. Williams thanked JSIF for seeing the gap that exists with regard to STEM and seeking to fill that gap.
For his part, Managing Director, JSIF, Omar Sweeney, said JSIF focuses a lot on education because its mandate is poverty alleviation, in which education can assist greatly.
“We believe that education is the way out of poverty. With a mandate of poverty alleviation… it would make sense that we focus a lot of our investment resources on education. Certainly, as a part of the Ministry’s thrust to improve numeracy and literacy and STEM education, over the years we’ve paid particular attention to investments to support the education process in this area,” Mr. Sweeney said.
“Under our [Integrated Community Development Project:] Youth Education and Recreation Project, which has been going since 2014, we’ve invested more than $58 million,” he added.
As an engineer by profession, Mr. Sweeney said he believes especially in the STEM subjects.