Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says Government has identified the critical need to build proficiency in science and mathematics to transform the economy and create a more sustainable future.
“Jamaica’s future lies in developing a technology savvy, knowledge-based economy, where our people have the skills to compete with others anywhere in the world and the creativity to innovate new products and processes,” he stated.
“Countries that invest in their students mastering science and mathematics are the internationally competitive economies of the world today (such as) Japan, the United States of America, Germany, South Korea, Brazil, China, and India,” Minister Paulwell added.
He was delivering the keynote address at the official opening of the 5th Annual Mathematics and Science Competition and Exhibition on Wednesday, March 13, held on the grounds of Cornwall College in Montego Bay, St. James.
The Minister informed students that workers with a strong background in science and mathematics are going to be needed for the industries that will come on stream in the next five to 10 years.
Among the skilled personnel needed are computer technicians, application developers and other Information and Communications Technology (ICT) entrepreneurs and experts, both for the business process outsourcing centres, as well as for the proposed logistics hub.
“We need earth scientists, geologists, cartographers, marine biologists and many more to help Jamaica pursue its oil and gas exploration. We also need engineers, machinists, technicians and many more to build and maintain the solar and wind equipment for the renewable energy sector,” Mr. Paulwell said.
Pointing to the economic potential of the red mud industry, Minister Paulwell told the students that the country could earn far more foreign exchange if production of the minerals could be done in Jamaica.
“We can have Jamaicans build and run this industry completely, but only if we get more of our students leaving university with degrees in biology, chemistry, physics, geology, math and so on,” he pointed out.
“You are the ones who I am counting on to become the statisticians, the chemists, the machinists, the analysts, the lab technicians, the engineers and the researchers for this evolving industry,” he told the students.
Minister Paulwell congratulated the more than 500 students from western Jamaica, who are taking part in the mathematics and science competition, and expressed the hope that the contest, which gets bigger and better each year, will become a national event.
By Glenis Rose, JIS Reporter