SRC Inspiring Education Through STEM Education

Critical thinking, problem-solving and collaborative skills are crucial for the 21st Century learner and the Scientific Research Council (SRC) has been doing their part to develop and foster these skills in our teachers and students. The ultimate aim of the Council is towards the fostering of a culture of innovation and increased scientific literacy among Jamaica’s youth.

The SRC through its Science, Technology and Education Unit has put in place a number of programmes that promotes STEM education. STEM, which is Science, Technology, Energy and Mathematics, is known for its role in creating critical thinkers and innovators, who are invaluable to the sustained growth, stability and continuance of our society. Globally, there is an increasing demand for STEM employees as was highlighted by The Education Commission of the States which reports that “STEM jobs will grow by 13 % between 2017 and 2027”. This sector is very lucrative as STEM employees also receive better wages than non-stem workers. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics 2017- out of 100 STEM jobs, 93% of them had wages above the national average. The national average pay for STEM jobs is US$87,570 and non–stem salaries are at an average of US$45,700.

If, however, you are unconvinced about the importance of STEM, just observe the companies, infrastructure, products and services of today that are reforming our lives, and the impact they have on the world’s economy. Manufacturing and travel technology, cutting-edge construction equipment, Google, Amazon, Apple, Social Media etc. would not have existed without STEM education.

As a known economic driver, STEM consistently generates opportunities and the onus is on us to prepare more people to grasp these opportunities. The Scientific Research Council since its inception has been on a mission to educate all about the values of science and technology. It has undertaken many projects; hosted various events, many of which are in support of STEM education. Recognizing the curiosity that is characteristic of young minds, SRC dedicates a large amount of its resources towards nurturing scientific, critical-thinking and innovative minds within our nation’s youth. This is done with the hope that they will develop a passion for the field, pursue related careers and inspire effective and relevant innovations as solutions to present and future problems.

Kavelle Hylton, Acting Coordinator of the SRC’s Science, Technology and Education Unit sums up the view of the Council. According the Hylton, “STEM prepares students for life. It allows students to think freely across the disciplines and engages students with 21st Century skills. The SRC through a number of project-based competitions such as the National Science and Technology Fair and the Essay, Debate and Performing Arts competition takes students and teachers annually on an adventure that brings out their creativity and passion while they solve difficult real-world problems as a team.”

Other STEM programmes and events hosted by the SRC includes Ideation sessions/workshops that assist students in generating ideas and solutions towards the development of feasible business concepts, develop working prototypes and create products/ services for commercialization. School’s Science and Technology Societies which are science clubs that keep students stimulated through various activities staged throughout the year and a recently implemented “Conversations in Science” series which was designed to engage, sensitize and solicit public dialogue on science-based matters of national importance.

Persons interested in SRC’s STEM programmes can contact the SRC’s Science, Technology and Education Unit at (876) 927-1771- 4 or email Ms. Kavelle Hylton at kavelleh@src-jamaica.org .

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