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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, has hailed the display of innovations in science and technology mounted by teachers and students of the Sydney Pagon Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy.
  • Mr. Miller told JIS News that “pockets of partnerships” are being pursued, including one for the supply of pork to a sausage-manufacturing company.
  • Mr. Miller told JIS News there is also commitment from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries for the supply of produce to neighbouring primary schools for a breakfast programme.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, has hailed the display of innovations in science and technology mounted by teachers and students of the Sydney Pagon Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy.

He said the various projects, which were on display at the institution’s St. Elizabeth campus, are a perfect example of STEM at work.
“The use of extracts and by-products to make creams, oils, lotions, body butter and products such as cheese and yoghurt, shows an encouraging approach to learning,” Dr. Wheatley said.

He was speaking to JIS News following  a tour of the school’s STEM Projects and Career Day on May 31 under the theme ‘STEM: Fuelling 21st Century Innovations, Economic Growth and Development’.
Other impressive displays were the “From Grass to Class” project in which dried grass is transformed into paper, used to create a greeting card and a painting; and the growing of seedlings in coconut fibre.

Minister Wheatley said the works exhibited speak to the innovative side of Jamaicans, which shows that the students are embracing science and technology.

“The way that knowledge is imparted shows in the enthusiasm on the faces of the students, and indicates that teachers are doing the right thing,” he noted.
He is urging more students to embrace STEM subjects. They are “very critical for us if we want to be globally competitive, so we must encourage students to love these subjects and to seek professions in the STEM areas,” Dr. Wheatley said.

Meanwhile, Principal of Sydney Pagon STEM Academy, Milbert Miller, told JIS News that the school is looking to achieve food self-sufficiency in five years. He said the institution is now meeting 30 per cent of its production and consumption needs.

“We would become a model institution. With the resources we have and with the right investment, in another five years, we will be well on our way to total self-sufficiency,” he said.
He noted that with the academy sitting on some 254 acres of arable land and the Elim River running through the campus, the possibilities are endless for fruit and vegetable production.

At the moment, the school is involved in the rearing of pigs, cows and chickens, and honey production, and there is a coconut-planting project under way.
He said there are opportunities for projects to be undertaken in horticulture, hydroponics and aquaculture.

Mr. Miller told JIS News that “pockets of partnerships” are being pursued, including one for the supply of pork to a sausage-manufacturing company.

In addition, he said, “we have four one-acre ponds ready to be cleaned and for fish to be reared in collaboration with fish-farming company Algix Jamaica. Isratech Energy Solutions is on board with us for greenhouses”.

He informed that the academy has also been approached by Food For The Poor to produce citrus seedlings for the charity’s housing projects.

Mr. Miller told JIS News there is also commitment from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries for the supply of produce to neighbouring primary schools for a breakfast programme.
Meanwhile, the principal said part of the long-term plan is to introduce solar energy throughout the campus and take the institution off the national power grid.

Presently, there is limited exterior solar lighting on the campus.