Minister of Education, Youth and Information, the Hon. Fayval Williams, says increasing tertiary enrolment in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) programmes of study is a national imperative.
“This position recognises the urgent need to increase the level of innovation and critical thinking required for future careers and economic advancement in Jamaica,” she said.
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Minister Williams was speaking at the recent virtual National STEAM Forum, which was held in collaboration with the British Council and the National Education Trust (NET).She noted that while there is great importance in investing in liberal arts education, there must also be “educated and trainable people who can adapt to the changing environment and its requirements.”
“Many institutions lack computer literate teachers and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) experts, who would support and manage the internet connectivity and or application of computing in the teaching-learning process,” she pointed out.
She said that the Ministry is “already implementing, as part of its strategic priorities, the broad embrace of STEAM education, not just as discrete subjects to be taught.”
“Also, under the new National Standards Curriculum (NSC) for the grades one to nine levels, which seeks to improve the general academic performance, attitude and behaviour of students, emphasis is being placed on project-based and problem-solving learning, with STEAM integrated at all levels,” she added.
Minister Williams said that the Ministry is working to make it easier for teachers and others involved in STEAM education to access subject-specific, professional development programmes.“At the same time, we must address the uneven access to technology and [inadequate] physical infrastructure in parts of the country,” she noted.
Turning to the introduction of the Specialist Subject Teacher model at the primary level, Minister Williams said that this is to address basic literacy skills and strengthen the teaching and learning of English language and mathematics.
She added that the Ministry remains committed to ensuring that ‘no student is left behind’ in education.
Source: Increasing Tertiary STEAM Enrolment A National Priority – Minister Williams – first published in the Jamaica Information Services