Through the creation of an incentivised teaching scholarship programme, the University of the West Indies, in partnership with the NCB Foundation, is aiming to slow down the migration of the nation’s teachers from the island.
The Building Out Our STEM Teachers (BOOST) Scholarship, which started in 2021, facilitates the advancement of teachers in pursuit of specialisation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
With the Foundation now on board with a whopping $9-million investment, special emphasis will be placed on producing high quality teachers in the area of digital studies.
DIRE NEED FOR MORE PROFICIENT EDUCATORS
Scholarship recipient Thea May was delighted for the assistance to complete the final year of her computer studies major in education and liberal studies. Her passion to inspire a love for digital studies remains resolute as she prepares to enter the education workforce.
“Jamaica is in dire need of more proficient educators. We have so many young minds that are curious about the way things work and how to make them better. My role as a teacher is to inspire, motivate and to make learning enjoyable,” said May.
With the resignation of 400 teachers since the start of the year, the BOOST programme will help to make teaching more attractive. Through the programme, student teachers will receive grants to cover their student loans and an increase in their salary. Scholarship recipients will also benefit from specially-designed mentorship schemes, summer training, outreach programmes, as well as networking opportunities.
Successful NCB BOOST scholars will be placed in high schools to teach subjects such as Information Technology, Webpage Design, and Programming at the high school level.
“The shortage of qualified teachers in Jamaica has significantly impacted the development of the human resources within the island. Through the BOOST programme, The UWI will aid in creating a steady supply of quality STEM educators,” stated Professor Michael Taylor, dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at UWI’s Mona campus.
In her remarks at the signing of the partnership agreement on July 28, Nadeen Matthews Blair, CEO of the NCB Foundation, is ready to expand the pipeline of digital talent in Jamaica.
“The NCB Foundation is on an urgent journey to enable the digital transformation of our country through expansion of the pipeline for digital talent, but these digital practitioners can’t teach themselves,” stated Blair.
She explained that it is critical for the country to find innovative ways to attract and retain its teachers. “BOOST is a win-win. The NCB Foundation is also delighted that it provides a pathway for our own digital scholars to give back after getting their tertiary education fully funded by the NCB Foundation,” said Blair.