JAM | Jul 9, 2023

MICO principal Pinnock: ‘STEM must solve our problems’

Candice Stewart

Candice Stewart / Our Today

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\Principal of the Mico University College, Dr. Asburn Pinnock speaking during the Mico STEM Century International Conference held on July 4 at the AC Marriott Hotel in New Kingston. (image source: Still shot from recorded conference on the Mico University College YouTube channel).

Dr. Asburn Pinnock, principal of The Mico University College, says that the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) should be used to solve the everyday problems faced by people. 

Pinnock was speaking at the Mico STEM Century International Conference held on Tuesday (July 4) at the AC Marriott Hotel in New Kingston. 

“The current techno-dominant global environment fuelled by the high velocity evolution of life and society and the rapid digitalisation has created increasingly complex problems. These can only be solved when a STEM orientation in a STEM ecosystem through the application of a STEM-based methodologies executed by STEM trained graduates. STEM must solve our problems,” he said. 

“A STEM competent workforce will positively impact every sector and bring us closer to solving issues such as climate change, water scarcity, health crisis, world hunger and social unrest. It will require us to use data gathered through STEM applications to reorient and improve systems which improve the quality of our lives. Moreover, it will render graduates locally and internationally competitive equipped with transferable problem solving and creative skills to fashion new solutions to emerging problems,”he added. 

He contended that the conference was a signalled moment of Jamaica’s trajectory “as we recalibrate our visions, strategies, passions, and mindsets towards the realisation of [the country’s] STEM island status.”

Pinnock was adamant that the strategic outcomes of education must change in order to achieve a STEM-focused transformation of Jamaica’s education system. 

FILE: President of The Mico University College, Dr. Asburn Pinnock, addresses the commissioning of the Mico Independent Water Resource Solution on Thursday (March 30), during a ceremony at the institution’s campus in Kingston. (Photo: JIS)

“We must transform, align, and be driven by STEM because [that] must solve our problems,” he stressed.

The Mico principal highlighted the achievement of the recently commissioned independent water resource at the tertiary institution, which is a 240ft well which “provides a sustainable amount of potable water with a daily abstraction capacity of over 100,000 gallons.”

He shared that with the well, Mico has been able to move from the National Water Commission (NWC) grid which has resulted in “significant cost savings.”

“Constructed by a professional engineering firm, the well stands as an excellent example of how the application of STEM solves a real problem, which is the scarcity of water during the annual drought period which has also been exacerbated by climate change,” he said, highlighting that STEM has solved the problem of water scarcity at the institution where they can now have “lush green fields and lawns. 

“We are not violating the water restrictions, but we are just using STEM to solve our problems and to keep our lawns green,” he shared.


Dr. Pinnock added that it is mandatory to integrate the arts as part of the vehicle to drive the needed education transformation. 

“Therefore, science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM), will play a major role in arriving at the plotted destination for which there is yet no road map and no GPS,” he said, emphasising that Jamaica is well known for its art, so now the time has come to integrate that art into the transformation of the education system with the sciences.  

Stock image

Pinnock underscored that the conference sent two messages. The first is that Jamaica is ready to advance towards the full integration of a STEM education curriculum and the second being that there is an “avalanche of support from the public and private sectors, and among educators locally and internationally who see the big picture of a fully equipped 21st century, future ready Jamaican workforce underpinned by STEM training and development.”

The principal of The Mico also shared that though STEM is important, STEAM is the direction in which stakeholders should go. 

“When we say STEM, it’s a marketing tool, but when we market STEM, we should implement STEAM,” he said.

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