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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Education will commence work on a special initiative aimed at enhancing science education in primary and high schools islandwide.
  • The aim is to facilitate the establishment of at least one science laboratory in the island’s 164 high schools.
  • The survey documents have been prepared with dissemination to the institutions expected to begin this week.

The Ministry of Education will, over the next three months, commence work on a special initiative aimed at enhancing science education in primary and high schools islandwide.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, who made the announcement during a recent meeting at the Ministry, said Senior Advisor, Radley Reid, will lead the undertaking.

The aim is to facilitate the establishment of at least one science laboratory in the island’s 164 high schools, where this need is identified, and develop science kits for the nearly 800 primary schools.

Mr. Reid, who also spoke at the meeting, advised that the Ministry has, with the assistance of its Core Curriculum Unit, determined the resource requirements for teaching biology, chemistry, physics, and integrated science in high schools, and is currently in the process of conducting a survey among the institutions to determine areas of need.

He said that the survey documents have been prepared with dissemination to the institutions expected to begin this week.

“We know what the requirements are…we are checking to see what the state of the science facilities is in each of the schools, because we know that some of the schools… may be quite well equipped, some may have a chemistry, physics, biology, or science integrated lab, while some schools might have none at all,’ he pointed out.

Additionally, Mr. Reid said, the Ministry will seek, through the survey, to ascertain the number of qualified science teachers assigned to each school, particularly those that require intervention, and the standard of students’ performance in the subjects.

“Because what we notice is that of the approximately 42,000 students, who enter for the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) exams annually, only a very small percentage is entering for science. So we want to find out from the schools why it is that they do not have more students doing science in external exams,” the Senior Advisor informed.

Arising from this exercise, Mr. Reid said the Ministry hopes to be able to develop at least one prototype lab where “you can teach all of the sciences, and (thereafter) we can expand as the population for science is concerned.”

“So, after the survey, we will know exactly where we are and, therefore, see how much is needed to improve the level of the teaching and learning of science in our schools,” he stated.

Mr. Reid said the schools will be asked to return the survey documents to the Ministry within a month, pointing out that, “ it (may) take us, perhaps,  another month or two to compile the data, do the analyses, and be able to say what exactly the requirements are.”

“So, we think within the next three months, we should be quite clear what the state of the sciences is in all of our high schools… and from that survey, we can, therefore, know exactly what we have to do,” he informed.

With respect to the primary schools, Mr. Reid said the Ministry is seeking to develop “standardized” kits for teaching science in each institution.

“We are, again, through the (Core Curriculum) Unit…looking at (developing) a simple kit that can teach the science, which is in the curriculum. Because, basically, without experiments, you are not really teaching science,” he pointed out.