Come January 2019, the Government will be introducing specialist science teachers in primary schools under a pilot programme.
This was announced by State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, who said this is being done to address the challenges of teaching the sciences in a way children can readily grasp.
“We are putting in our school system specialist teachers to focus on science…because we believe it needs the specific skills sets to ensure that our children get that (tutoring),” he said.
Mr. Green was speaking at the opening of a forum organised by the High Commission of South Africa to Jamaica in collaboration with the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST) at the Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa in Kingston on Friday (Nov. 23).
The State Minister opined that the inability of many students to fully embrace the sciences is partly because they have a fear of the subject area, as is the case with Mathematics.
This is the reason why, he said, the Education Ministry has revamped the curriculum to place greater focus on these subjects thereby opening up the minds of young people to think critically.
“Science is more about a way of thinking…it forces you to think in a particular manner; it forces you to identify a problem and to start coming up with a solution. We have started the process of shifting our curriculum in schools to focus much more on that type of thinking because if you are going to survive in this modern world, you have to think that way,” he said.
“The foundations of our new curriculum are critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication because that is what is important and all of those are based on scientific principles,” he added.
In the meantime, the High Commissioner of South Africa to Jamaica, His Excellency Ambassador Tyrone Gunnie said both countries have been benefiting from mutual agreements in areas such as science, technology and innovation.
“It is by far the best functioning agreement that we have and what we have been able to achieve as two Governments is phenomenal,” he said.
He noted that the three-day forum, targeting 100 youth, ages 15 to 17 is in keeping with ongoing collaboration in this area.
Under the theme: “See.Touch.Innovate”, the forum sought to engage youth in conversation, practical observations and provide a hands-on approach to innovation.
The youngsters had the opportunity of interacting with South African and Jamaican practitioners, who are utilising science technology and innovation to solve challenges facing both countries.