Teachers at all levels of the academic system are being invited to attend The Mico University College’s International Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) conference, from July 5 to 7 at the AC Hotel by Marriott in St. Andrew.
The event, being held under the theme ‘Transforming Jamaica Through Education’, will afford participants the opportunity to learn about the skills needed to forge the sector into an enabling environment for the future STEM workforce.
The Mico will host the conference in tandem with the Ministry of Education and Youth, STEM for Growth Foundation, and 21st CentEd.
It was officially launched during a ceremony at the College in Kingston on Tuesday (June 13).
Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams, in her remarks, emphasised that as the Government works to create a STEM-enabling environment, relevant teaching methodologies will need to be adapted.
She informed that the sector has approximately 25,000 teachers who will not only need to buy into the philosophy but also be reorientated to deliver a STEM-based curriculum.
“We affirm our commitment to preparing our teachers to deliver a STEM-based framework. We recognise that teachers are the architects of the educational landscape, and their dedication and expertise are pivotal in shaping the minds of our future generations,” Williams stated.
The Mico President, Dr. Asburn Pinnock, said STEM education, training and development will be “the game changer [and] engine which drives Jamaica’s development”.
He maintained that it will also bolster the country’s international competitiveness in what is projected to be a trillion-dollar industry.
Dr. Pinnock noted that many Jamaican students develop a fear of STEM subjects, usually beginning with Mathematics, pointing out that adequately trained teachers will be vital in creating a shift in the youngsters’ mindset.
“This will include training thousands of teachers to deliver STEM curriculum at all levels and the creation of a STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics] Centre for innovation and research, which will operate as an extension of The Mico University College,” he said.
Against this backdrop, Chairman of the STEM for Growth Foundation, Dr. Glen Christian, and wife Marva Christian, pledged US$1 million towards the centre’s construction.
“We need to pool our resources and coordinate our efforts so that, collectively, we can move faster and have a greater impact. The international STEM conference provides a springboard for us to embrace this responsibility [and] unlock the potential in our students,” Dr. Christian said.
During the conference, teachers will be able to engage in several activities and at least 14 workshops that cover a range of related areas.
These include robotics, animation, ChatGPT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the introduction of STEM methodology.
A 50-member working round table will also be organised, incorporating policymakers, educators, and the private sector, to work on a vision map for Jamaica and seize opportunities for investment.
Persons may register for the conference using The Mico’s website, www.themico.edu.jm.
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