- STEM academies at the secondary level is a strategic response to the need for more highly qualified technology graduates for the job market.
- The Ministry will be collaborating with the HEART Trust/NTA to establish STEM academies in the nation’s technical high schools.
- The partnership with the HEART Trust, will provide for a focus on technical education, so that these subjects can become preferred options for students.
Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, said that the move to establish Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) academies at the secondary level is a strategic response to the need for more highly qualified technology graduates for the job market.
“The Ministry is fully cognizant of the need to foster the development of a cadre of young people with full appreciation for technological innovation and its integral role in a country achieving economic development and prosperity,” he stated.
“As such, the STEM academies will serve to expand the capacity and diversity of the workforce and to prepare more students for the jobs of the future,” Rev. Thwaites added.
The Minister was speaking at a STEM integration symposium on January 23, at the HEART College of Beauty Services, Hope Road, St. Andrew.
Rev. Thwaites, earlier this year, announced that the Ministry will be collaborating with the HEART Trust/NTA to establish STEM academies in the nation’s technical high schools.
He said, at the time, that the partnership with the HEART Trust, will provide for a focus on technical education, so that these subjects can become preferred options for students. He noted that the basic skills of literacy and numeracy will also be emphasised.
In his presentation at the STEM symposium today, Rev. Thwaites explained that all the academies may not offer the same curriculum and each may have different emphasis based on choice and labour market demand.
The academy will begin at Grade 7 and offer select disciplines in the STEM range and others based on the market.
Training for and practice of entrepreneurship will be fully integrated into the curriculum and all students will learn how to start and run a business.
“Students must leave all schools with marketable skills, work ready and able to start a business if necessary. It is envisioned that the STEM academies will be closely linked to the country’s economic sectors and anchored in the philosophy that strong STEM skills are not only essential for a well rounded education but also critical for the economic competitiveness,” Rev. Thwaites said.
“It is contemplated that these academies will also prepare students for selected career paths. An approach that is similar to the University Technical Colleges in the United Kingdom is being recommended for adaptation,” he informed.
The Education Minister said that the Ministry will conduct the appropriate level of consultation with stakeholders to fashion the final product.
The private sector is being encouraged to not only provide expertise, but financial resources, for example, in the form of sponsorship of branded laboratories.