Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ JamaicaObserver.com, the most concise and in-depth website for news coverage on Jamaica and the Caribbean. Updated daily 7 days a week, 24 hours a day en-us copyright Jamaica Observer, 2011 Seaview Basic needs assistance to meet government standards http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Seaview-Basic-needs-assistance-to-meet-government-standards_75168 PRINCIPAL of Seaview Basic School in Long Bay, Portland, Claudia Smith, says the school is seeking the necessary assistance to meet the 12 standards set by the Early Childhood Commission for early childhood institutions across the island.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;They have 12 standards that are set in the Act (Early Childhood Commission Act) that we have to comply with and we are short when it comes to some of these things. We are lacking in finance, staffing, health, safety and more,&rdquo; Smith told the Jamaica Observer North East last week.<br /> <br /> The Early Childhood Commission&rsquo;s (ECC) standards focus on staff, programmes, behaviour management, physical environment, equipment and furnishing, health, nutrition, safety, child rights, parents&rsquo; and stakeholders&rsquo; participation and equality, administration, and finance.<br /> <br /> The ECC, on its website, said it is moving to certify 2,513 early childhood institutions (ECIs) that have applied to be registered. The commission said, so far, 17 institutions have already been certified and that the ECC is reviewing the applications of the remaining 2,496 institutions.<br /> <br /> Under the Early Childhood Act and Regulations of 2005, all ECIs operating in Jamaica must be registered with the ECC, which is the sector&rsquo;s regulatory agency.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Since the Early Childhood Commission took over, they want the schools to be certified so that we can get a licence to operate. We need a sickbay because they come here to inspect and they said we need a sickbay. We also need a lunchroom. As it stands, the children sit in their classrooms and eat then we would have to clean up afterwards,&rdquo; Smith said.<br /> <br /> Standard 6 of the Early Childhood Act and Regulations, which speaks to health, stipulates that institutions should have physical facilities, policies, programmes and procedures that promote healthy lifestyles and protect children and staff from illness. Equally, standard 7 says that institutions should provide children in their care with nutritious meals and model good nutritional practices for children and families.<br /> <br /> Added to that, the principal said the school is also in need of financial assistance.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;For a year, we would need about $5 million for the efficient running of the school. Right now, we have 57 children and three teachers along with an assistant and a cook. We have three classrooms, one for three year olds, one for four year olds and one for five year olds. I teach a class as well, I teach the five year olds. So I teach a class and do the administrative duties so you know it&rsquo;s hard, really hard,&rdquo; she lamented.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I would like more staff members,&rdquo; Smith added.<br /> <br /> Standard 11 of the Act, which speaks to administration, outlines that institutions should have a management structure that ensures good administration. There are policies, procedures and programmes that should ensure child, family and staff well-being.<br /> <br /> Standard 1 speaks to staff and demands that institutions should have the training, knowledge, skills, and attitude to help children achieve their full potential.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The other teachers, they are being subsidised. They get a subsidy from the Ministry of Education and part of their pay comes from the school fees. I am the only one who gets a full salary from the ministry; I am the only trained teacher,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We would really like some assistance.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The certification process follows targeted intervention by ECC inspectors and development officers, as well as support provided by various partners and stakeholders.<br /> <br /> The ECC said, as part of the registration process, institutions must satisfy standards for health and safety (public health and fire safety reports and police records); and educational quality, including teacher qualification certificates. They must also pass a stringent inspection process.<br /> <br /> The ECC was established in 2003 by the Early Childhood Commission Act. Its functions include advising the minister of education on policy matters relating to early-childhood care, education and development in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> These include initiatives and actions to achieve national early childhood development goals; assisting in the preparation of plans and programmes concerning early childhood development, and monitoring and evaluating the system. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13312526/230785__w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 12:00 AM Tacky High student nails 15 CSEC subjects http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Tacky-High-student-nails-15-CSEC-subjects_75152 FINANCIAL struggles coupled with the ill-health of his father forced Devrow Boyd to make tough decisions, one of which should have affected him academically but the St Mary teen knew that he would have prevailed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When my father got a stroke, due to financial reasons, I made the decision to transfer to Tacky High,&rdquo; Boyd said, adding that it was closer to home.<br /> <br /> The young boy from Gayle, St Mary, made the decision to transfer from St Mary High to the school where he excelled in the 2016 Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC), passing 15 subjects.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I have no regrets,&rdquo; Boyd, who earned four distinctions, 10 credits and a pass, said.<br /> <br /> He sat: Agricultural Science, Biology, Chemistry, Electrical and Electronic Technology, English Language, Information Technology, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Office Administration, Physical Education, Physics, Principles of Business, Social Studies, Spanish, and Theatre Arts.<br /> <br /> Boyd said his motivation to do the subjects was not to prove anything to anyone, but for personal fulfilment.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I just thought it would be a personal achievement,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The 17-year-old, who wants to become a medical doctor, said there was strong opposition when people became aware that he would be sitting 15 subjects.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;That did not deter me because I knew, what I wanted, and I knew I could manage,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I feel extremely overwhelmed,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> His preparation for the exams, he said, was extremely intense as he diligently followed a timetable he had drafted.<br /> <br /> He has also credited much of his success to his mother Carmeta Housen, father Carlton Boyd, sisters Latoya Roberts and Sasha Darby, and brother Akeem Darby, as well as teachers and family friends.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;d like to thank my principal Mr Boscoe, my Spanish teacher Mr Bailey, my IT teacher, Mr Jackson, my guidance counsellor Miss Buchanan and also family friends Mrs Taylor and Mrs Marcia Henry,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> And while he has managed to add subjects to his record, the teen is also pressed to fulfil goals outside of the classroom.<br /> <br /> Boyd said that he wants to become multilingual and so he has been taking online classes in Mandarin and French. As a result, he is able to communicate somewhat in four languages: English, Spanish, French, and Mandarin. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13312474/230767_57925_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 12:00 AM Lee-Chin schools Kingston High students in avenues to success http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Lee-Chin-schools-Kingston-High-students-in-avenues-to-success_75048 Using the story of his life and how he rose from being a poor boy in Portland to one of the richest men in Jamaica and Canada today as illustration, billionaire businessman and philanthropist Michael Lee-Chin on Wednesday sought to inspire grade 11 students of Kingston High School to greatness. <br /> <br /> His first lesson was identifying opportunities.<br /> <br /> The talk was one in a series of motivational sessions dubbed the Chairman&rsquo;s Forum, which is organised by chairman of the Wolmer&rsquo;s Trust Milton Samuda. It was the first outside of Wolmer&rsquo;s.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;On the first day of high school we were spoken to by the custos, who said, &lsquo;Boys and girls, opportunity knocks but once!&rsquo;,&rdquo; Lee-Chin reminisced. He attended Titchfield High School in Portland, followed by Excelsior High School.<br /> <br /> He said in the days following that, he hardly slept, not wanting his one opportunity to pass him by while he slept or gazed or played &lsquo;nooks&rsquo; or marbles. This was until a friend convinced him otherwise.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;A friend told me that every day in life there are opportunities. Unfortunately, they are always clad in crisis so people miss them,&rdquo; he said, utilising a Chinese interpretation of the word crisis, equating it to danger plus opportunity.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is impossible to have a good opportunity without a crisis. All the important moves I made in my life came out of crisis,&rdquo; said the president and CEO of Portland Holdings, and owner of National Commercial Bank, while cautioning that the only way one will benefit from the crisis is by consciously recognising that there is an opportunity within it.<br /> <br /> Lee-Chin shared that after high school, he gained employment for a year and saved CDN$2,000 for his first year of university. He got a job cutting grass at McMaster University, where he read for his degree in civil engineering. However, his earnings from that job weren&rsquo;t enough to cover the expenses for his subsequent years of study. After many unanswered letters to the scholarship unit in Jamaica, he decided to write to the Office of the Prime Minister requesting financial help. Then Prime Minister Hugh Shearer responded, awarding him a scholarship of CDN$5,000 per year until he completed his studies.<br /> <br /> In addition to the engineering degree, Lee-Chin holds honorary doctorate degrees from a number of distinguished universities, including: McMaster University, University of Toronto, Northern Caribbean University, Wilfrid Laurier University &mdash; where he has been re-appointed as chancellor &mdash; The University of the West Indies, and York University.<br /> <br /> Lesson number two was how to go take advantage of opportunities. For this, Lee-Chin used the analogy of a race with triple Olympic and world champion Usain Bolt.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In a race with Usain Bolt, how many Saudi Arabian princes are there? None. This is the perfect meritocracy. There are just nine guys with desire, perseverance and discipline.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;That is the kind of Jamaica we want to build; where everybody can compete and only the best win&hellip; You live in the kind of country that if you are hard-working, disciplined, and have strong desire, you can be anything you want to be,&rdquo; said Lee-Chin, who has been appointed chair of the Government of Jamaica&rsquo;s newly established Economic Growth Council.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So your job is not &lsquo;poor me&rsquo;. It&rsquo;s a matter of desire, perseverance and discipline,&rdquo; he continued.<br /> <br /> Even as he challenged the students to be the best, he cautioned that it is not always that more effort results in more success. Using an equation, he illustrated that sometimes one is working against the curve, but if one perseveres, he/she will eventually reap success.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In a parade, there are three types of people: One is the leader, saying &lsquo;left, right, left right.&rsquo; There are the followers and those who don&rsquo;t even know what is happening. Which are you?<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I always try to be the best, because if I am not the best, I am at a disadvantage,&rdquo; said the billionaire, pointing out that the extent of success the students achieve will be determined by who they compare themselves with and identify as their competition.<br /> <br /> Lee-Chin&rsquo;s third lesson focused on being the best.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;To be the best grade 11 student in the world, it&rsquo;s going to take three things. One, identify a role model; two, find out their recipe; and three, follow faithfully,&rdquo; he taught.<br /> <br /> Topping the lesson off, Lee-Chin encouraged the students to never neglect or hate themselves, and used his first job in Canada in the 1970s &mdash; selling stocks and securities to white folk &mdash; as example. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Do I bleach my skin colour? Do I drop my accent and &lsquo;twang up&rsquo;? But I thought that if I am to be the best person possible, I must be the best me possible,&rdquo; said Lee-Chin. <br /> <br /> He also advised the students to never be afraid to ask for help, among other tips for success in class and in life.<br /> <br /> Kingston High is located on upper King Street in the Jamaican capital. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13309231/230600_57762_repro_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM &lsquo;I wasted my time in school, now it&rsquo;s haunting me&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/-I-wasted-my-time-in-school--now-it-s-haunting-me--------_74952 Dear Career Advisor:<br /> <br /> I hope you can help me and give me some advice after I am finished telling you everything that I failed in life.<br /> <br /> I went to high school for five years and left with nothing. I did seven CSEC exams and I wasn&rsquo;t successful in any. All of this happened because I wasted my time at school and now it&rsquo;s haunting me.<br /> <br /> My parents never gave up on me and gave me a second chance to do over some subjects. I did five but still wasn&rsquo;t successful in any. I cried and cried. My parents were devastated and disappointed with me. My father cursed me and my mom, but who could blame him? I had again wasted my time at school.<br /> <br /> Afterwards my mother sent me back to the same institution to do two subjects &mdash; mathematics and English. I was successful in mathematics gaining a grade three, but I failed English. <br /> <br /> That year I got accepted at the Ebony Park HEART Academy where I did general agriculture Level Two. I still went there and wasted my time&hellip; I failed the final assessment. Everyone was rewarded with their statement of competence in their hand, except me. I was humiliated and I cried.<br /> <br /> Every time I look back at how hard my mother has to work... every time I look at my dad and see that he is getting older and I can&rsquo;t help him or repay him in life, or help my siblings, I cry.<br /> <br /> I haven&rsquo;t told my parents anything because it will hurt them. I love them so much. I hope one day I can make it in life to help them and my little sister and brother.<br /> <br /> After the first two weeks of being back at home, I got a call to attend an interview for Level Three. My mom was happy that I got through to do Level Three &hellip; Three weeks after the interview I didn&rsquo;t get a call, so I got in touch with one of my friends who told me that she got the call and she started the programme three weeks earlier. I have not told my mother yet as it will kill her. Please tell me, should I tell her or should I work it out on my own?<br /> <br /> I see myself as failure and time waster&hellip; friends and family talk to me about doing my work&hellip; I didn&rsquo;t listen, now look at me&hellip; sitting at home&hellip; I don&rsquo;t know what to do.<br /> <br /> Please, I need your advice.<br /> <br /> Sincerely, <br /> <br /> Mary*<br /> <br /> Dear Mary*<br /> <br /> Due to space constraints your letter was condensed and your name changed to protect your identity.<br /> <br /> Let me begin by encouraging you to stop worrying and dwelling on your failures. You have already taken the first step: admitting that your neglect to properly utilise your opportunities has led to where you are now. You may choose to continue to lament your failure, worry over past mistakes, or blame yourself and others, but it is more important to commit to change. <br /> <br /> In making that change, it is important to identify the root cause of what you describe as time wasting. Are you distracted? Are you unmotivated? Is it a case of poor time management? Are you pursuing areas in which you have no interest? Or do you perhaps need to change your study habits?<br /> <br /> I suggest you meet with a career coach at one of the Career One-Stop centres at the nearest HEART Trust/NTA parish office, or at your former academy to get help identifying the root problems and take the necessary steps to correct it or them. The coach will also help you develop a career advancement plan.<br /> <br /> In the process, it is important that you make a concerted effort to:<br /> <br /> i. Learn from your mistakes, and<br /> <br /> ii. Motivate yourself; be willing to pick up the pieces and move forward.<br /> <br /> Success in life will not come by wishful thinking and unspecific lofty desires, but by planning and working hard to achieve goals.<br /> <br /> HEART routinely provides feedback on interviews and performance. It could therefore be that you have missed the calls. Do make direct contact with the admissions and assessment officer at the academy you attended to find out the status of your application for Level Three. Since Level Three usually leads to accelerated assessment for new applicants, you might need to find out if, having done Level Two, you are eligible. Bear in mind as well that you may resit the Level Two assessment as many times as you need to, though you will need to pay for each repeat assessment. <br /> <br /> Now to your question about telling your mother about the Level Two failure. Yes, you should tell her, but before you do, follow the steps outlined above. Understandably, she will be disappointed, but your new-found commitment and clearly thought-out strategies should provide her with some level of assurance of the need for continued support, which no doubt will come with conditions.<br /> <br /> All the best as you strategise to overcome this hurdle.<br /> <br /> Sincerely,<br /> <br /> Career Advisor<br /> <br /> Carolyn Marie Smith is assistant vice-president of student affairs at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit your questions to her at careeradvisor@ncu.edu.jm.<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12296093/career-advisor_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM Caribbean has lowest tertiary enrolment in the West http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Caribbean-has-lowest-tertiary-enrolment-in-the-West_74959 THE Caribbean has the lowest enrolment in tertiary education in the Western Hemisphere, and Jamaica is among those countries with the lowest figures in the region.<br /> <br /> This is according to principal of The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Professor Archibald McDonald, who put the national tertiary enrolment figure at roughly 10 per cent of the population. Speaking Wednesday at the launch of the 5th staging of the Caribbean Broilers (CB) Group/UWI 5K Run Road Race, he argued that the figure needs to be increased if the country is to realise its development goals.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are at about 10 per cent and need to get to 30 per cent if we are to have any significant impact on national development. Any effort to assist students to enrol in a tertiary institution must be lauded,&rdquo; Professor McDonald said.<br /> <br /> Proceeds from the 5K event finance some academic and sport scholarships, as well as contribute to the development of sports programmes and facilities. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;As we all are aware, tertiary education, though necessary to succeed in today&rsquo;s society, is neither free nor inexpensive. The 5K participants are provided with a unique opportunity to assist with funding academic and sports scholarships for several new and current UWI students who are in desperate need of financial assistance,&rdquo; said the UWI principal.<br /> <br /> He added that as part of the university&rsquo;s continued commitment to social responsibility, the annual CB 5K allows it to join two very important causes (education and sports development) into an event that brings together a wide cross section of the Jamaican society under the resonating themes of fitness, well-being and communal altruism.<br /> <br /> McDonald told the gathering also that funding tertiary education for needy students was the motivating force behind the annual staging of the event, and that it epitomises the UWI&rsquo;s commitment to further educate the people of Jamaica.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The funds raised by the challenge aids in the future development of the UWI&rsquo;s sports programme and facilities. For many of our youth, sports have become a necessary shelter from their troubles and acts as a guidepost to their future achievements,&rdquo; the Professor added.<br /> <br /> Hence, he said, the 5K will provide a necessary boost to the university&rsquo;s ability to become a meaningful contributor to sports education and training.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our aim is to be able to provide first-class equipment and facilities that would transform The UWI into a training ground for first-class athletes hoping to represent Jamaica on the international and regional sporting stage,&rdquo; McDonald said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13308550/230406__w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM Passion for People http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Passion-for-People_75086 J Wray & Nephew has launched a leadership development programme which it says represents the dawn of a new era in people development at the Campari-owned wines and spirits manufacturer. Called the Campari Way of People Management, the programme promises participants that they will &lsquo;emerge proud to be, and recognised as a Campari Manager&rsquo;, which means, among other things, that they would have &ldquo;developed greater self-awareness and people management capabilities with an improved ability to manage people and process, and equipped with tools to execute with excellence&rdquo;. The launch event, a workshop dubbed Passion for People, was held at the company&rsquo;s corporate office on Dominica Drive in New Kingston on Thursday. Here (from left), minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister Horace Chang, J Wray & Nephew Managing Director Jean-Philippe Beyer, Chief Executive Officer of Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica Dennis Chung, and J Wray & Nephew Chairman Clement &lsquo;Jimmy&rsquo; Lawrence exchange pleasantries. (Photo: Garfield Robinson) http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13310139/230677_57816_repro_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM SUNY, UWI establish Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/SUNY--UWI-establish-Center-for-Leadership-and-Sustainable-Development-_74760 New York City, USA &mdash; The State University of New York (SUNY) and The University of the West Indies (UWI) on Tuesday launched SUNY UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development, which will, among other things, offer double degrees at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and pursue joint research.<br /> <br /> The centre will be governed by an advisory board of academic experts, foundation and development professionals, and administrative leaders from both institutions. It will begin operations at 325 Hudson Street in Manhattan, one of SUNY Empire State College&rsquo;s three New York City locations.<br /> <br /> Among its specific goals are:<br /> <br /> &bull; to advance the creation of a master&rsquo;s programme in leadership and sustainable development; <br /> <br /> &bull; drive solutions-oriented research, student advocacy, and mobilisation of the Caribbean diaspora; <br /> <br /> &bull; establish an expert network; and <br /> <br /> &bull; facilitate a think tank<br /> <br /> Importantly, too, the centre will couch its programme in the context of the United Nation&rsquo;s Sustainable Development Goals 2030.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;SUNY&rsquo;s new partnership with The UWI represents an important milestone in our ongoing conversations about educating and empowering students and faculty in order to make substantial advances in the areas of leadership and sustainable human development,&rdquo; said SUNY Chairman H Carl McCall. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our partnership is all the more exciting when you consider the positive impact and practical benefits the application of our research, academic programmes, teaching, and learning will have for our students and faculty, as well as the millions of people in the Caribbean, the Caribbean diaspora in New York, and beyond. We are proud to advance our mutual goals with The UWI and I thank Sir Hilary for his continued passion and leadership,&rdquo; he continued, referencing UWI Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.<br /> <br /> For his part, Sir Hilary said: &ldquo;Both The UWI and SUNY have agreed that a centre of this nature is required to provide innovative solutions to the underlying problems that ultimately constrain the achievement of sustainable human development in the wider Caribbean and in the urban areas of New York State, in which there is a substantial Caribbean diaspora that is served by SUNY. This initiative is part of the programme of international engagement that enables The UWI to play an active developmental role among the wider Caribbean community.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> UWI and SUNY have been working on joint projects in the areas of marine sciences, environmental sciences and climate change, health, and distance education since signing a memorandum of understanding in 2013. The latest cooperation will build on those areas with a focus on democratic participation, leadership, and governance, as well as solutions to specific problems constraining the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. <br /> <br /> A week ago, a report in the Barbados Nation quoted Beckles thus: &ldquo;We are partnering to build a new institution based in New York to focus around these 2030 goals, to build the capacity of our regional university with the capacity of one of the largest universities in the world, in order to deliver these outcomes... We are doing these things because we recognise the constraints within our jurisdiction to achieve the targets that we want to achieve.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> On the announcement of the centre, UWI Chancellor Sir George Alleyne called the effort &ldquo;a path-breaking initiative&rdquo;, which is a part of UWI&rsquo;s global agenda to embrace the Caribbean community and diaspora. &ldquo;It will provide some of that essential leadership training and research needed by the wider Caribbean as it prepares to meet the new Sustainable Development Goals,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The concept for the centre has garnered strong support from the Commonwealth and the Caribbean Community.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I commend the vision and commitment to serving the practical needs of the people of the Caribbean &mdash; whether at home or in the diaspora &ndash; that has led to the SUNY UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development,&rdquo; said Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Commonwealth citizens from the Caribbean and from other Small Island Developing States will derive lasting benefit from this partnership project and the focus it brings to the human development needs of our people, wherever they live, learn or work. In this year when we celebrate &lsquo;An Inclusive Commonwealth&rsquo;. It is good to see The UWI continuing to play an active and innovative developmental role for the benefit of the wider Caribbean community.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> SUNY is described as the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses. In 2014-15, it served nearly 1.3 million students &mdash; nearly 600,000 in credit-bearing courses and programmes, and nearly 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programmes.<br /> <br /> The UWI, meanwhile, is the largest, most long-standing higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with three physical campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as an Open Campus. It serves 17 English-speaking countries and territories. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13309207/230023_57674_repro_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM Strategies for successful online learning http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Strategies-for-successful-online-learning_73773 Online learning is increasingly popular around the world and in Jamaica. The term, which is interchangeable with e-learning or electronic learning, refers to learning that takes place via the Internet, through videos, email and discussion threads. While online course content is usually identical to that of a traditional classroom, the usual face-to-face instruction of the traditional classroom is absent. <br /> <br /> Lectures are sometimes delivered live and learners can participate in the sessions. More frequently, though, lessons are prerecorded to be accessed at one&rsquo;s convenience. This, however, presents new challenges when compared to the traditional classroom, as students are separated from their teacher by a computer screen. <br /> <br /> The online learner population is mixed and range from older, more mature students to younger students coming straight from high school. At any age, however, the learner must have certain traits to be successful. We discuss them below, along with the benefits of online learning and factors to consider when selecting an online programme.<br /> <br /> Benefits of Online Learning<br /> <br /> There are many reasons why online courses are desirable:<br /> <br /> &bull; One is able to engage in learning from home or place of work.<br /> <br /> &bull; It saves money and time because one does not have to commute to school.<br /> <br /> &bull; There is less distraction or interruption from classmates.<br /> <br /> &bull; One&rsquo;s choice of school and instructors can be anywhere in the world.<br /> <br /> &bull; There are opportunities for networking among classmates in different countries.<br /> <br /> &bull; There is access to the course 24/7.<br /> <br /> &bull; Most online courses are cheaper than traditional classroom courses.<br /> <br /> &bull; Online courses often accommodate different learning styles, especially for visual and auditory learners.<br /> <br /> A Successful Online Learner must be:<br /> <br /> 1. Self-directed<br /> <br /> The online learner must possess the capability to direct his own learning. He must be an independent learner. Interactions between student and teacher are not as immediate as in a traditional classroom. Generally, online students must wait up to 24 hours for responses to queries.<br /> <br /> 2. Fluent in the use of technology<br /> <br /> There must be ready access to the computer. This is a central part of the online classroom and basic computer skills are an absolute necessity. These skills include proficiency in word processing software, email and discussion threads. Students may also need to download and install special software. Competence is also necessary for multimedia forums such as video conferencing, message boards and podcasts, which are all types of communications for online courses.<br /> <br /> 3. Self-motivated and goal-oriented<br /> <br /> Since teachers will not hound you, there must be self-discipline to complete assignments on time and review material in a timely manner. There may be competing factors such as work and/or family obligations, so strong motivation will be necessary to complete your course of study.<br /> <br /> 4. Organised<br /> <br /> Students must be able to set schedules and meet deadlines. You must read the syllabus and note assignments and due dates. You will have to set and stick to your own study schedule. Good habits such as time management and self-efficiency will serve you well.<br /> <br /> 5. Responsible<br /> <br /> Online learners understand that their instructors are facilitators of the learning process, and that they are responsible for their own learning. You may encounter different ideas and perspectives as you engage in discussion threads and blogs. Be prepared to take a professional approach to ideas different than your own. It will also be very easy to procrastinate since their is no face-to-face interaction, so you must be responsible enough to overcome this temptation.<br /> <br /> 6. Able to communicate well in writing<br /> <br /> Since most correspondence will take place through email, there should be a good command of the English language. Writing skills should be well developed as this will be your primary method of communication.<br /> <br /> Identifying Good Online Programmes<br /> <br /> Advances in technology have led to a crowded market for online courses. When searching for a good-quality online programme, there are certain factors that must be taken into consideration.<br /> <br /> &bull; Accreditation<br /> <br /> This is the stamp of approval that tells you that the programme meets certain academic standards, and that it is likely to be recognised and accepted by other institutions as well as employers. Look for a programme with a strong local and regional reputation.<br /> <br /> &bull; Support services <br /> <br /> Ask about the response time of instructors as well as how readily available they are to address any needs you may have. Check the availability of technical support should you need it. Research the faculty and/or staff and make sure you feel comfortable with their qualifications.<br /> <br /> &bull; Statistics<br /> <br /> Explore the numbers. Assess the success rate of the institution you are considering. You need to know the percentage pass rate. Examine reviews of the institution or speak to current students or alumni.<br /> <br /> Dr Karla Hylton is a graduate of the biotechnology programme at the University of the West Indies. She operates Bio and Chem tutoring, a Kingston-based teaching programme which specialises in secondary level biology and chemistry. Reach her at (876) 564-1347, biochemtutor100@gmail.com, or www.khylton.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13308617/230525_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM Rural students poised for CSEC success in 2017 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Rural-students-poised-for-CSEC-success-in-2017_74213 Students from four rural non-traditional high schools in St Mary and Manchester seem ready to ace the core subjects in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams next year. <br /> <br /> They have returned to school more confident, having recorded tremendous improvements in their mathematics and English language performances after participating in a series of summer intervention programmes supported by Rhodes Scholars. The data show that some of them are achieving grades of more than 90 per cent after entering the programme. <br /> <br /> The initiative in which they participated, TEACH Caribbean, began in 2013 with students from the Mile Gully and May Day high schools. The students have been enrolled in the programme since grade seven and have been receiving support from TEACH Caribbean each summer since. They are coached by a mix of local teachers, Rhodes Scholars enrolled at Oxford University in England, and volunteer maths and English teachers from the participating schools and the Diaspora. <br /> <br /> In 2015, the summer programme was expanded to include the Brimmer Vale and Horace Clarke high schools in St Mary with support from the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), which selected the two participating schools from the JN Foundation&rsquo;s iLead educational leadership programme. Funding was also provided by the Canadian Fund Raising Committee, US Fund Raising Committee, GraceKennedy Foundation, and the Insurance Company of the West Indies.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The biggest improvement for the students was in English. At the start of the programme the grade for English was 62.8 per cent. At the end of the programme the grade for English increased to 75 per cent,&rdquo; said Wynette Terrelonge, executive director, TEACH Caribbean, in respect of the Mile Gully and May Day students. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The grade for maths at the start was 31.6 per cent, and at the end of the programme the maths grade moved to 62 per cent,&rdquo; she added. <br /> <br /> Students from Horace Clarke and Brimmer Vale high schools also showed tremendous improvement, although only being involved in the programme for two years. Their grades in English moved from 30 per cent to 70 per cent, while in mathematics they achieved 67 per cent, up from 24 per cent.<br /> <br /> Founder of TEACH Caribbean, Mariame McIntosh-Robinson, says the programme has had a significant impact on the students&rsquo; confidence. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I believe there are students who can emerge as Rhodes Scholars from this cohort,&rdquo; she remarked, noting that the programme has targeted the schools in an effort to increase support for rural, non-traditional institutions, which receive less assistance than urban schools with similar challenges. <br /> <br /> Terrelonge says TEACH Caribbean will continue to support the students in the nine months remaining until the dateline for the CSEC exams. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I want to borrow the motto of Mile Gully High: &lsquo;Excellence through effort&rsquo;, and I want to remind students that TEACH Caribbean is the facilitator for their success. TEACH will provide the resources and the expertise to assist learning; however, the effort needs to come from you,&rdquo; Terrelonge advised at a recent prize-giving ceremony. <br /> <br /> Fifteen-year-old Jahmeilea Ogeare, who emerged top girl in the Brimmer Vale and Horace Clarke segment of the programme, with an average of 95 per cent, noted that the teaching style of the Rhodes Scholars assisted her to better comprehend the subjects. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Miss Mayanka [Mukherji] helped me a lot to understand English language, particularly summary writing,&rdquo; she explained, her voice a little hoarse after activities during the week. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;And although I&rsquo;ve always been doing well in maths, Miss Eva Coleman helped me to stay focused,&rdquo; she added. <br /> <br /> Top boy in the Mile Gully programme, and budding pilot, 15-year-old Nicqus Dwyer, is eyeing a grade one score in mathematics. And he is assisting others to achieve a similar grade. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I try to teach my fellow students what I&rsquo;ve learned because, normally, what we learn here they teach us after school,&rdquo; he says. He is confident that he will do well. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13309227/230558_57733_repro_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM Living your passion http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Living-your-passion_75054 Every two years Sagicor hosts a one-day motivational seminar to promote self-development, increase energy and encourage sales team members across the group to work towards achieving business goals. The seminar also serves as a push towards completing the last quarter on a positive financial note. This year&rsquo;s edition was held at the Jamaica Pegasus last week Saturday under the theme &lsquo;Living Your Passion&rsquo;. Guest speakers included Kelly Tomblin, CEO, Jamaica Public Service; and Novelette Grant, deputy commissioner of police.<br /> <br /> Photo 2: Olympic silver medallist Javon &lsquo;Transporter&rsquo; Francis presents Loeri Robinson with the Top Advisor prize, while (at top) chairman of the board of directors R Danny Williams (left) and President and CEO Richard Byles greet Deputy Commissioner of Police Novelette Grant, who was one of the guest speakers at &lsquo;Living Your Passion&rsquo;. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13309219/230564_57731_repro_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM Little Leaders learning kits now being distributed http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Little-Leaders-learning-kits-now-being-distributed_74876 Distribution of the Little Leaders learning kits to more than 2,500 early childhood institutions commenced Wednesday. <br /> <br /> The kits, designed and packaged with contents to engage children between the ages of three and six in a fun and creative way, will also provide quality learning experiences to achieve the overall goal of the Little Leaders initiative. <br /> <br /> Included in the kits are crayons, scissors, and puppets which were packaged by representatives of National Baking Company, the Ministry of Education, and the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) earlier this week.<br /> <br /> Education Minister Ruel Reid, who attended one of the packaging sessions, stated that the ministry was extremely grateful to National Baking Company Foundation for its continued investment in early childhood education.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our children will benefit greatly from the learning resources they will receive and we are proud that a Jamaican company is putting action behind their talk,&rdquo; Minister Reid said.<br /> <br /> The ECC, which plays an integral role in the co-ordination of activities and programmes for the institutions that will benefit, praised the foundation not only for the development of the programme, but also for the provision of opportunities to children at such a crucial learning age and stage.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We welcome this initiative and these learning kits which will help to provide equal opportunities to these students and that is why we found it important to be involved in the packaging process to observe and to also lend a helping hand,&rdquo; said ECC chair Trisha Williams Singh.<br /> <br /> Also on board to help in the process was Floyd Green, the minister of state in the education ministry. He noted that an investment in youth from the early childhood years is of paramount importance to the improvement of the education system in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are happy that National has decided to support in a real big way by providing so many schools with the resources they need to level the playing field,&rdquo; Green said.<br /> <br /> Last month, National Baking Company Foundation, under the patronage of Gary &ldquo;Butch&rdquo; Hendrickson, launched Little Leaders, which aims to improve the overall literacy rate of children between the ages of three and six, while also placing special focus in the areas of maths and the sciences. In addition to the learning kits, the programme will also provide activity pages in the Jamaica<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Observer, as well as an islandwide tour to facilitate teacher-training workshops through their Training Wheels mobile classroom. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13305948/230198_57292_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, September 23, 2016 2:00 AM It&rsquo;s illegal to withhold exam results! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/It-s-illegal-to-withhold-exam-results_74790 THE Ministry of Education says educational institutions, including universities, that continue to withhold students&rsquo; final examination results because of money owing are doing so illegally as the practice is against Government policy.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Terminal examinations are a relationship between the student and the examining body. It is unethical, it is imprudent, it is illegal for administrators to retain the results by virtue of fees being owed. No examination results are to be held because students owe fees,&rdquo; permanent secretary in the education ministry, Dr Maurice Smith told the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament yesterday. He pointed out that the policy is not a new one.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The communication to the public has not been effective. They may be going on to higher examination or something, and they don&rsquo;t get the opportunity and have to sit out a year,&rdquo; PAAC chairman, Dr Wykeham McNeill argued. He told the House committee that constituents have approached several members of Parliament with the same complaint.<br /> <br /> However, it is unclear whether any of the sanctions which Smith outlined to the committee are being applied, as the age-old practice has become the norm among institutions, leaving parents to scramble to come up with arrears or the students to suffer the consequences such as being hamstrung in their academic advancement.<br /> <br /> Smith said the regulations governing the sector specify that the principals can be cited for negligence, insubordination or professional misconduct, but said he was not &ldquo;in the position&rdquo; to say whether these penalties have ever been applied.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The situation is rampant. It&rsquo;s almost a given. What is a shock to me is to realise that it is illegal because it seemed as if it was the norm. The majority of the public feel as if they have nowhere to turn; they are distressed, many of them,&rdquo; MP Juliet Holness interjected.<br /> <br /> Smith said there have been reports in the past and that the ministry has intervened when made aware of specific cases.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We work through the school boards. Once the matter is raised we or our officers act right away, we make contact and make an intervention on behalf of the student. As far as I know in instances where we intervene there is resolution,&rdquo; the permanent secretary said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;&hellip; If there is an insistence not to comply the ministry has no choice but to act within the ambit of the law to ensure that we hold the board or the principal compliant,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Alphea Saunders<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13303747/230035__w300.jpg Local Education Thursday, September 22, 2016 12:00 AM Jamalco donates 1,500 GSAT maths, science workbooks http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Jamalco-donates-1-500-GSAT-maths--science-workbooks_74410 Bauxite company Jamalco last Friday presented over 1,500 copies of Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Grade Six Achievement Test math and science workbooks, worth over $700,000, to 22 schools. <br /> <br /> The handover ceremony, which took place at the Wembley Centre of Excellence in Hayes, Clarendon, saw principals, teachers and parents from those schools in the parish and neighbouring Manchester collecting their workbooks. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;This donation is our confirmation that Jamalco will continue to invest in education. We will continue to support in whatever way we can the various schools in our operating areas,&rdquo; said Antonio Melo, CEO at Jamalco.<br /> <br /> The company has so far invested over $9.4 million in 2016 on scholarships, bursaries, book grants, and other educational initiatives to benefit schools in Clarendon and Manchester, where the company&rsquo;s refinery plant and the mines are located. Additionally, Jamalco has promised to spend $1.7 million on book vouchers for primary and secondary school students in several communities.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;At Jamalco, we take great pride in ensuring that we make a significant impact on the communities in which we operate. Investing in education is a priority for us and we firmly believe that our investment in education will yield the highest return,&rdquo; said Antonio Melom, who added that, as a major corporate entity in Clarendon and Manchester, Jamalco takes pleasure in giving back to their host communities and foster educational development in the areas. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We believe in the capacity of our host communities to produce great students. However, we understand that for this to happen, companies such as Jamalco have to play their part. Today we are playing our part by equipping primary schools with useful resource materials to help our children succeed in their school work,&rdquo; said Melo.<br /> <br /> In continuing their commitment to education, Jamalco has also set up a scholarship programme to support students from secondary and accredited tertiary institutions from those areas. Over the last five years, the bauxite company has invested over $60 million in educational initiatives.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;As educators, parents, adults, students and all stakeholders, we need to follow Jamalco&rsquo;s lead and play our part in keeping our students, children and young people focused on the goal of education,&rdquo; said Bernard Turner, dean of discipline at Foga Road High School. <br /> <br /> Turner was the guest speaker at the handover ceremony on Friday. He emphasised that the society advances through education. &ldquo;Gaining education enhances an individual&rsquo;s chance to live a respectful life in the society,&rdquo; he said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13295801/229357__w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 19, 2016 12:00 AM Dynamo Dunbar http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Dynamo-Dunbar_74349 Garth Dunbar has found himself in a quandary. <br /> <br /> Not only is he preparing to buy a car for his 17-year-old daughter Kayla who had her birthday on September 2, he&rsquo;s trying to decide what is a fitting downgrade to a Toyota Prado. That&rsquo;s because, prior to the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations (CSEC) in May/June this year, he agreed to her terms that he buy her the SUV if she aced the 10 subjects she sat.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t take her seriously,&rdquo; he confessed to the<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When the exams started and I asked her how it was she just said, &ldquo;It was ok.&rdquo; She gave me no indication that she did well. So I said, &lsquo;Well, it look like mi ah go get weh&rsquo;. [But] when the final result come out and mi see di one dem, mi shout fi joy!&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Kayla fell just shy of her 10 grades ones, earning nine instead, and grade one two. But Dunbar feels she still deserves a reward.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think she really wants the vehicle right now,&rdquo; he said, trying to rationalise his decision not to buy it now. &ldquo;Maybe later when she reach university. I still have it in mind; I haven&rsquo;t forgotten it. I will do it because we believe in rewarding good work,&rdquo; he stressed.<br /> <br /> Kayla, then a student of Holy Childhood High School, scored ones in maths, English language, biology, physics, chemistry, geography, English literature, French, and information technology. The grade two was earned in history.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;At first I was a bit dispappointed when I saw the two, but then after realisisng that my parents were happy, and after telling other people and they congratulated me, I started to fell a bit better,&rdquo; the soft-spoken teen told Career & Education.<br /> <br /> She admits that history was not her best subject, but said she always tried to do well. Still, she didn&rsquo;t think she would have scored less than a grade one.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t find the exam difficult, so I wasn&rsquo;t expecting to get a two in that subject,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Her parents reported that they are petitioning the result.<br /> <br /> The history grade notwithstanding, and Dunbar&rsquo;s near loss of the bet aside, the family is thrilled with Kayla performance. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I was elated,&rdquo; Kayla&rsquo;s mom, Karen, said. &ldquo;I was really expecting it though; I wasn&rsquo;t surprised. Actually, I was expecting the 10 ones, because I know how hard she works and at school she&rsquo;s always on top of her class. She wakes up at night and studies and it&rsquo;s been that way all through high school. Even when she was at prep school she was keen on studying.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Her father attests to it and related how during the CSEC preparations Kayla refused to go out with friends or travel with the family.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Kayla always take on to her book. Even in the evenings when you go to pick her up there was no problem to find her because she was always in the classroom. Teachers have always been impressed with Kayla, ever since prep school,&rdquo; he said of the Hydel Prep graduate.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When Kayla started to study I think part of the motivation was that she named her price. She said if she got 10 ones, she wants a vehicle. I didn&rsquo;t take her seriously, but when I saw her really start to study I [reconsidered]. She didn&rsquo;t take any break. She studied day and night. If we decide to go away for a weekend, she not coming,&rdquo; Dunbar said, explaining that the teen even chose to forgo a trip overseas with the family last Christmas. She choose instead to stay home with her older sister Kim.<br /> <br /> Kayla has enrolled in the sixth form programme at Holy Childhood. She is pursuing the sciences along with maths, but she hasn&rsquo;t yet settled on a career path.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;My best subjects are the sciences and maths,&rdquo; she told Career & Education. &ldquo;I have great passion for the sciences and I want to become something in the medical field, but I&rsquo;m not sure what yet. At one point I chose radiology, then I chose cardiology, but I think that because I haven&rsquo;t had real experience in those fields I keep changing my mind.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> To address that problem, Kayla says she intends to intern at a hospital or other medical facility next summer. She did consider going that route this summer, she revealed, but took the time to recover from the stress of the exams instead.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m hoping that throughout my sixth form journey I will finally pick up what it is I want to be and find out what exactly it is I&rsquo;m cut out to do,&rdquo; the young Dunbar said.<br /> <br /> The teen was eager to share her own exam preparation techniques with students who will be sitting the regional exams this academic year. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;First, you set a goal. My goal was to get 10 ones. I got nine and that&rsquo;s fine. Second, bring that goal to God in prayer; ask for help and guidance through it all. The third step is to try to accomplish that goal. That will require studying, studying, studying a lot, being motivated and staying determined. Fourthly, I would advise students not to swot. Swotting will not work in grade 11! I would advise that they try to gain an understanding of the concepts, which will make things so much easier. Last, never give up! It&rsquo;s going to be very stressful, and you&rsquo;re going to be very tired. I was very sleep deprived throughout grade 11, but keep pushing and always remember that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you,&rdquo; she shared.<br /> <br /> When she is not buried in her books, Kayla enjoys playing tennis and badminton, participating in the modern languages club, and going to church. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13292518/229212__w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 18, 2016 12:00 AM Put robotics in curriculum, Calabar head urges MoE http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Put-robotics-in-curriculum--Calabar-head-urges-MoE_74212 The principal of all-boys school Calabar High Albert Corcho is calling on the Ministry of Education and other education stakeholders to give serious consideration to adding robotics to the secondary school curriculum in line with a thrust to encourage more students to pursue Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-based careers. <br /> <br /> Corcho made the call at the launch of a robotics programme at his school on Monday. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Robotics is the way to go. In fact, it is our hope that other schools will be able to reap the many benefits that are associated with robotics. While this programme has been identified to be particularly important to stimulating boys &mdash; as we know they are usually more physical learners &mdash; there is no doubt that both genders could benefit from this programme. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;However, since it is expensive to take on individually, it would be great if the Ministry of Education and others with Jamaica&rsquo;s interest at heart would consider integrating this very helpful tool in the regular classroom setting,&rdquo; Corcho urged. <br /> <br /> He reasoned that in light of the shortage of resources across schools, the ministry would require assistance with implementing a programme of this type. He suggested, therefore, that alumni associations seize the opportunity to invest in a project that would benefit all students. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;As I pointed out earlier, the school doesn&rsquo;t have the money and I believe that while the ministry can assist, we are already strained for resources, so getting approval for it to be included in the curriculum is just one part of the bigger picture; the next is acquiring the equipment. I can proudly say that this initiative at Calabar High school was one of the old boys&rsquo; association, those here as well as abroad, and they have worked very hard to ensure that those students behind them would have an even better educational opportunity than they did, so I know that this can be done,&rdquo; Corcho told the Jamaica Observer. <br /> <br /> In the meantime, Corcho said that the institution is willing to assist other schools with an interest in the technology. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have recognised the importance of exposure to this high-level technology and we know that it holds some answers to improved academic performances in areas that many students have struggled to perform well in, mathematics and the sciences topping that list. So we will be extending our assistance through workshops on invitation as well as through extra classes, and we are currently exploring a camp for summer of next year because, certainly, we will need some time to get comfortable as well as to source additional equipment,&rdquo; Corcho said. <br /> <br /> The Calabar principal said that by including robotics education in the national curriculum, the ministry of education would not only create a gateway to an innovative way of learning for all students, but it also would have given its stamp of approval to the first programme of its kind that would stand as a supportive pillar to the demands of the STEM curriculum.<br /> <br /> &Acirc;­&mdash; Penda Honeyghan http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13292306/229122_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 18, 2016 12:00 AM Calabar launches robotics programme http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Calabar-launches-robotics-programme_74211 Supported by a wealth of global research that has found that boys learn better in hands-on, practical approaches, all-boys school Calabar High has positioned itself to revolutionise the educational development of its students with its recently launched robotics programme. <br /> <br /> Robotics has been touted to improve and encourage learning in STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.<br /> <br /> In what has been described by the school administration as a first in Jamaica, the programme is being integrated into the school&rsquo;s curriculum on a phased basis, and was introduced to first and second form students on the institution&rsquo;s 104th anniversary, last Monday.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is an exciting programme!&rdquo; 12-year-old first former Daesean Channer told the Jamaica Observer following the programme launch.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;My dream is to become an engineer and this will help to do that. I will also be able to do better in mathematics and other science areas. I am happy to see this being introduced and that I am able to benefit,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> His colleague, 11-year-old Miguel Bennett, said he is anxious to start classes in robotics because of his future ambitions. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;This seems to be a great piece of technology and I anticipate learning, particularly about programming and understanding machine intelligence, so that I can manipulate them to address some world crisis or another. Immediately, however, we are told that exposure to robotics can help us to do a lot better in our academics like maths, physics, and chemistry, and in other subjects as well,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Classes are set to begin this week.<br /> <br /> The programme is being managed by Calabar old boy and lecturer of physics and electronics at The Mico University College Wayne Thompson, who recently participated in a week-long robotics course at the Carnegie Mellon University in Washington DC. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am happy that we can expose these boys to this type of technology. This programme will enable improved passes in the maths and science areas and encourage careers in maths and science, as these are the careers of the future, as well as to stimulate critical thinking among boys,&rdquo; Thompson told Career & Education.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The vision that I have for this programme is that we will be able to add another technology known as raspberry pie, which will allow the boys more functionality. For example, the users will be able to manoeuvre robots from distant locations where we may not be physically present, but we will be able to monitor their movements from a monitor, and my hope is that we will be able to achieve this by next year,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> The Jamaica, New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, and South Florida chapters of the Calabar Old Boys&rsquo; Association, with support from the school administration, are the principal drivers behind the programme. They have already purchased the robotics curriculum and related licences for access to virtual software from Carnegie Mellon University, and have since accepted an offer of support from said institution. The group has also bought six robots and is planning to procure some 30 laptops to be used as part of the project. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have a very good system in place and we intend to ensure that each class is exposed to the technology. We have not yet procured the 30 laptop computers that will be required per class, but we are well on our way. Our maths and science teachers have also done a number of workshops, one with the support of Jamaica College with whom we have a very good relationship since they have a robotics club, and now through Mr Thompson, who trained abroad recently. Overall, we just want to ensure that the boys at Calabar are reminded of their true potential and will ensure that they never drop the bar,&rdquo;<br /> <br /> president of the local chapter of the association Keith Whyte explained.<br /> <br /> Principal Albert Corcho, in his address to the boys on Monday, encouraged them to take advantage of the programmes and the many benefits to be derived from learning STEM subjects. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Today, on the 104th birthday of Calabar High School, we have not only created history by becoming the first school to have as part of the curriculum robotics, but we have managed to do something even more important: we have put on display how important the holistic development of the intellectual capacity of our boys is to us,&rdquo; said Corcho.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This programme is so important because it has been used across the globe to encourage learning, particularly in areas of maths and science. So, you will be exposed to something that is dominating the rest of the world, something that will contribute to academic pursuit, just as it has for other students who are struggling or have expressed a particular interest in maths and science areas,&rdquo; the Calabar head told the boys.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13292230/229170_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 18, 2016 12:00 AM Former child vendor wins Legacy Scholarship http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Former-child-vendor-wins-Legacy-Scholarship-_73768 From the time he was three years old, Chevano Baker&rsquo;s resilience and fortitude were being shaped in and around the Christiana market. <br /> <br /> He, his brother and their cousin would scout for sales in the streets in order to increase the prospects for his parents who were market vendors, and secure their lunch money. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I would sell shoe polish and matches. And we embraced it knowing that it was something we had to do. I felt that this hardship would give us a chance to beat the odds,&rdquo; the 21-year-old says.<br /> <br /> Throughout his high school years, Baker&rsquo;s Saturdays were spent vending. He is the first to admit that it was not the easiest &ldquo;part-time job&rdquo;, as it exposed him to humiliation and crass remarks from his peers at school. However, he did not buckle under pressure. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;At school, my classmates would say all sorts of negative things, but I motivated myself and never allowed the comments to derail my goal. I was working to assist my parents along a journey that would help me and my siblings to achieve our own success. And it was a part of a bigger picture which they never saw,&rdquo; he says. <br /> <br /> Years later, Baker&rsquo;s singlemindedness to achieve academically would set an example for others. He pursued an undergraduate degree in actuarial science at The University of West Indies on an open scholarship and was recently awarded the University of Birmingham and Jamaica National Foundation Legacy Scholarship. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Looking for job opportunities and a scholarship were important for me. Therefore, when I came across the JN Legacy Scholarship during my second year at university, I paid very close attention to the criteria and I ensured that I would be a suitable candidate, based on my academic success and community involvement,&rdquo; the young man relates. <br /> <br /> The University of Birmingham and Jamaica National Foundation Legacy Scholarship, a three-year award, was launched in 2014. It affords one Jamaican student annually to study for a one-year master&rsquo;s degree in a business-related field at the UK institution.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I applied for that scholarship in my final year, when I became eligible, and was confident that I stood a chance. But actually being selected was an amazing feeling,&rdquo; Baker reveals.<br /> <br /> This son of Clones District in Manchester will leave the country later this month to begin his graduate studies in financial economics. And, while he is nervous about leaving home, he is ready to embrace the graduate studies programme.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am nervous because I am going to another country; but once I get there and get in the mode, I am sure I will be fine. And I am certainly going to make myself, my parents and Jamaica National proud,&rdquo; Baker declares.<br /> <br /> He reported that his parents and other family members are proud of his maturity academic success, and hope that he will continue to do well in England.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;They are extremely proud, knowing that this comes after the struggles we all had to go through. They value education and were very hands-on to ensure that I was doing well in school, and because they didn&rsquo;t get the opportunity to pursue tertiary education, they wanted that for me and my siblings,&rdquo; he says of his parents.<br /> <br /> Deeply rooted in his Apostolic Christian faith, Baker plans to return to Jamaica to start another journey, charted to lead him to be governor of the Bank of Jamaica. In the short-term, he intends to lecture, pursue entrepreneurship through a company that fuses technology and agriculture, among other things. <br /> <br /> The first Legacy Scholarship awardee, Chris-Ann Thomas, completed her graduate studies in 2015, while the 2015 recipient, Lavois Cruickshank, will to return to Jamaica at the end of September with a Master of Science Degree in Financial Economics. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13292164/229029__w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 18, 2016 12:00 AM Are you scholarship-ready? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Are-you-scholarship-ready-_74267 Aaaahhh the excitement and hope of a new school year! What better time to forward plan, consider your goals and profile, and take the steps to ensure that you make this school year count? So ... are you scholarship-ready? Here are some questions you should ask yourself and steps you can take to get there.<br /> <br /> FIRST, am I taking <br /> <br /> Just yesterday I spoke with a friend of mine who works in admissions at a leading US university. I told him about a student of mine with 5 1&rsquo;s at CAPE Unit 1 and 9 1&rsquo;s at CSEC. The first question he asked was, &ldquo;In what subjects?&rdquo; He reminded me that if the student had not taken the &ldquo;traditional core subjects&rdquo; then admission was unlikely, even with all 1&rsquo;s and a straight A profile! I can&rsquo;t emphasise this enough; to be most competitive students must take all three science subjects, English A and B, maths AND add maths, a social science and a foreign language up to CSEC level. This course selection will make a student scholarship ready at competitive US universities, no matter what his/her intended career or major. Beyond CSEC, students are advised to continue with as many core subjects as possible, checking the prerequisites for the major/area they are potentially interested in studying. I recommend add maths these days, because the SAT maths section demands some knowledge of higher-level maths.<br /> <br /> SECOND, am I looking <br /> <br /> There are so many opportunities out there that it can be overwhelming, even for someone whose full-time job it is to uncover them all. One good place to start is at embassies. From Brazil to Japan, to Chile, to China and Portugal; from the Chevening to the Fulbright, the governments of various countries offer scholarships for undergraduate and graduate school study, so do your research. There are no excuses! I am always so heartened to see students with little or no resources put in the work, use their initiative and receive opportunities that change the entire trajectory of their lives. Another place to look is at the institutions at which you are interested in studying. For undergraduate study especially, the majority of financial aid and merit scholarship opportunities are institutionally based. Be sure to check the citizenship or residency status requirements and other criteria to ensure that you are a good fit (or can take the steps to become a good fit, for example in terms of leadership).<br /> <br /> See part two in two weeks.<br /> <br /> Nicole McLaren Campbell is the founder and CEO of Aim Educational Services, an independent college admissions counsellor, and public speaker. Contact her at <br /> <br /> nicole@aimeduservices.com<br /> <br /> .<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13097642/212102__w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 18, 2016 12:00 AM Prisoners pass CSEC exams http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Prisoners-pass-CSEC-exams_74209 Human rights group Stand Up for Jamaica (SUFJ) announced last week that 83 per cent of the prisoners who sat Caribbean Secondary Certificate Examination (CSEC) papers this year were successful in at least one subject.<br /> <br /> Fifty-three inmates from the Tower Street, St Catherine, Fort Augusta and South Camp Juvenile correctional facilities combined who are involved in the group&rsquo;s prison school programmes sat the exams. They did maths, English, human and social biology, and social studies.<br /> <br /> Executive director of SUFJ, Maria Carla Gullotta, has hailed the results as a positive sign for SUFJ rehabilitation efforts with the inmates.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The improvement in the results each year means that we are having a positive impact with the prison school programme. As more inmates sit the exams and become qualified, they will be able to more readily reintegrate into the society and reduce the risk of reoffending. We are very proud of the inmates and will continue to support them as they prepare for life after prison,&rdquo; she said. <br /> <br /> SUFJ explained that it started the programme five years ago with funding support from the European Union. The Reggae Geel Festival in Belgium has also been credited with supporting the prison education programme via donations of books and stationery. <br /> <br /> It started by offering mathematics and English only, but expanded to other subjects due to the high demand by inmates, SUFJ said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The programme has been very successful with more inmates registering for classes and signing up to do more CSEC exams,&rdquo; said the group, which also referenced &ldquo;the commitment and work of the warders&rdquo; as a key to the success.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11975061/CAROLYN-SMITH_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 18, 2016 12:00 AM &lsquo;Committed to developing future workforce&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/-Committed-to-developing-future-workforce-_74127 Over 40 interns from Jamaica, Barbados, St Lucia, Dominica, Guyana, and as far away as Canada participated in this year&rsquo;s B-H and Harris Paints Youth Employment programme, which ran from May to the end of August. <br /> <br /> The students, who are pursuing courses in fields ranging from science/engineering, chemistry, business management and finance, to hospitality and tourism, marketing, and aviation management were placed across the paint company&rsquo;s departments, and were challenged to use their skills and training to add value to the workplace.<br /> <br /> Abigail Welch, who hails from Guyana but is studying economics and finance in Canada, called it &ldquo;a transformative experience [that] has allowed me to demonstrate my true potential&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is certainly a privilege to work at the Caribbean&rsquo;s leader in the paint industry. My experience working in the finance department alongside the senior VP [of] finance has been rewarding. I continue to learn so many things that will better equip me as a new grad entering the corporate world,&rdquo; she told the Jamaica Observer. <br /> <br /> According to Radcliffe Myers, head of B-H Paints, the company has a vested interest in nation-building through skills development.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our goal is to offer opportunities to these students who have clearly expressed a desire to work and showcase a level of proactive and creative out-of-the-box thinking that belies their age. In doing so, Harris is helping young adults take the next step in their career path, and our region as a whole to take the next step in developing our future workforce,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> In addition to its own summer programme, this year Harris Paints collaborated with the Caribbean Science Foundation in its annual Student Programme for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE), an intensive four-week enrichment residential summer programme for gifted Caribbean high school students, 16-17 years of age, who are interested in careers in science and engineering. Several SPISE graduates are currently attending MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, and University College London as freshmen or sophomores. <br /> <br /> The long-term goals of the programme are to help address the low numbers of Caribbean students pursuing advanced degrees in science engineering; groom the next generation of science, engineering, technology and business leaders in the Caribbean; and help diversify the economies of the Caribbean by stimulating more technology-based entrepreneurship. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13292301/229006_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 18, 2016 12:00 AM SRC opens science labs in schools http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/SRC-opens-science-labs-in-schools_74284 The Scientific Research Council (SRC) has, so far, opened science laboratories in four of eight participating primary and secondary schools in its Improving Innovation Capacities in the Caribbean (INVOCAB) project.<br /> <br /> The INVOCAB, being done in conjunction with the Trinidadian agency National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST), is geared towards helping students improve performance in science and technology subject areas.<br /> <br /> The SRC hosted the opening of the science resource centres at Greater Portmore High School in St Catherine and Seaward Primary and Junior High School in Olympic Gardens, St Andrew, on Thursday. <br /> <br /> Project manager for INVOCAB, Tamika Drummond, said the schools have been provided with several kits, scientific instruments and apparatus which will allow the students to have hands-on experience with science material during lessons.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We want to allow them to see that science and technology is not an abstract topic, but is something that they can relate to in everyday life. So, we want to break it down for these students and get them excited about the subjects,&rdquo; she said, following the commissioning ceremony at Seaward Primary and Junior High.<br /> <br /> Laboratories at Horace Clarke High in St Mary and Windsor Castle All-Age in Portland were commissioned in August. The other participating schools are Bull Bay All-Age and Yallahs High in St Thomas; Belle Castle Primary and Infant in Portland; and Carron Hall High in St Mary. Eight schools in Trinidad and Tobago have also been supported through the project.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is our hope that providing the schools with these things will greatly assist the teachers and the students to achieve better results in their examinations,&rdquo; Drummond said.<br /> <br /> As part of the three-year project, which began in 2013, two professional development workshops for teachers were also conducted for the participating schools. Workshops focused on preparing teachers to creatively deliver science and technology lessons so students can be engaged. Camps have also been held over the two past summers, which had students engaged in a range of activities in the subject areas.<br /> <br /> The project, valued at $130 million, is supported by the European Union and the Government of Jamaica. The Government has also donated $30,000 to each participating school to provide security for the labs. Local partners of INVOCAB include the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information; the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech); The Mico University College and Church Teachers&rsquo; College.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13294071/science_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 18, 2016 12:00 AM &lsquo;Now I can go back to school!&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/-Now-I-can-go-back-to-school--_74121 Twenty-eight-year-old research analyst Jason Martinez admits to being naturally cautious and particularly picky about using social media, so when he was told that he was a winner in Scotiabank&rsquo;s Share your Thoughts online competition, he did not believe a word of it.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;To be honest, when they called me I thought it was a scam,&rdquo; he said. He explained that he asked a family member to help him do some checks. It began to sink in only after he got the &lsquo;all clear&rsquo; and confirmed the contact details himself.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When I realised, I was ecstatic! I was very, very happy. I never thought I would win as it&rsquo;s the first one that I entered,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> He was formally presented with his cheque by and Pamela Douglas, manager of the New Kingston branch.<br /> <br /> Scotiabank launched the competition earlier this year, inviting visitors to its website to share random thoughts as well as respond to specific questions. Winners are decided each quarter. Martinez is the third quarterly winner and received $300,000 in prize money. <br /> <br /> He says there was no specific method to his participation. &ldquo;At first, I went on(line), came across the promotion and just entered. Then it was pretty much every time I went online and every time a thought came I just entered.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> While he can&rsquo;t remember much of what he shared, he says there was one recurring thought &mdash; a fervent desire to go back to school. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I always wanted to go back to school to do my master&rsquo;s degree. I have a bachelor&rsquo;s and really wanted to be able to do the Certified Financial Analyst programme. Now I don&rsquo;t have to save for it, I can just go straight to classes.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Martinez is looking to start next year and is already narrowing down his options. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Right now I&rsquo;m in research, and I am really enjoying it, but equity trading looks good too.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> His advice to others who are just as cautious about online competitions? <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Wait until you get that e-mail confirmation from Scotiabank!&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13292180/228792_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 18, 2016 12:00 AM Books from Benjamins http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Books-from-Benjamins-_74120 P A Benjamin Manufacturing Company Limited recently awarded four grade six students who attend schools in proximity to its East Street head office in downtown Kingston with GSAT workbooks, dictionaries and exercise books for the start of school. From left, Dickaylia Francis of St Aloysius Primary, Anna Kay Campbell of Central Branch All-Age, Shahida Brown of Calabar Primary, and Nickhalia Brown of St Anne&rsquo;s Primary are happy to have received the material. Wit http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13292133/228788_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 18, 2016 12:00 AM Xerox seeks to hire 2,500 in Mobay, Kingston, Portmore http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Xerox-seeks-to-hire-2-500-in-Mobay--Kingston--Portmore-_74214 MONTEGO BAY, St James &mdash; Xerox will be hosting a series of open house events as part of efforts to hire 2,500 Jamaicans in its customer care and business process centres in Montego Bay, Kingston and Portmore, the printing and software solutions company said last week. <br /> <br /> The event for Kingston and Portmore is scheduled for Naggo Head, St Catherine on Saturday, September 24 from 10:00am to 2:00pm.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our open house events are a great opportunity to visit a Xerox site and find out more about our organisation and the various job opportunities,&rdquo; said Leroy Reid, vice-president and country leader for Xerox in Jamaica. &ldquo;Candidates will have the opportunity to interact with the operations team in order to learn more about the culture, scope of work, and expectations of the job roles.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> The open house will serve as a recruitment exercise for Xerox, with the recruitment team identifying candidates who will be invited back for final interviews. <br /> <br /> The minimum requirements for employment at Xerox, the company said, are a school leaving certificate at the secondary level or a HEART Level II certificate. However, there are also career opportunities for people with advanced qualifications. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are now accepting applications for customer care associates, operations manager, supervisors, trainers, workforce analysts, and quality analysts,&rdquo; said Reid. <br /> <br /> Xerox, a global enterprise, is the largest diversified business process services company worldwide. It provides business services, technology and technical expertise that enables workplaces &mdash; ranging from small businesses to large global enterprises &mdash; achieve greater productivity, efficiency and personalisation. <br /> <br /> The company is noted for being one of the largest private sector employers in Jamaica, with over 6,500 employees, making the Jamaica team the fourth-largest concentration among the company&rsquo;s 130,000 workforce, following the US, India and the Philippines. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;From its 11 locations in Jamaica, the Xerox team provides support for corporations operating in industries such as health care, including pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, retail, transportation and high-tech. The type of work performed by the team members in Jamaica includes customer care, technical support, administrative assistance, insurance claim processing, finance and accounting, payroll services, human resource benefits processing and transaction processing,&rdquo; Reid continued.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have a team of well-trained and highly qualified and exceptionally motivated Jamaicans who deliver superior service for a wide range of global brands across multiple industries,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Xerox first established its presence in Jamaica in 2000 and considers the Jamaica operations as a critical component of its global delivery network. <br /> <br /> On January 29 this year, Xerox announced plans to separate into two independent, publicly traded companies &mdash; Xerox Corporation, which will be comprised of the company&rsquo;s document technology and document outsourcing businesses; and Conduent Incorporated, a business process services company. The company said it is on track to complete the separation by year end.<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13294049/Xerox_w300.jpg Local Education Sunday, September 18, 2016 12:00 AM Mico study offers key to boosting students performance in math http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career/Mico-study-offers-key-to-boosting-students-performance-in-math_73926 A pilot research on mathematics, conducted by Mico University College&rsquo;s Caribbean Centre of Excellence in Mathematics Teaching (CCEMaT), has revealed that building teachers&rsquo; knowledge and developing students&rsquo; problem-solving skills will positively impact performance in the subject area.<br /> <br /> Shandelene Binns-Thompson, associate director of CCEMaT, said that the project indicated that factors which contribute to underachievement in mathematics include, but are not limited to, teachers&rsquo; inability to help students develop problem-solving skills; math teachers possessing limited subject knowledge that inhibits the effective development of mathematical concepts with students; students&rsquo; inability to decompose non-routine questions into algebraic form; employment of mostly teacher-centred approaches in the teaching and learning discourse; and students&rsquo; inability to read in the content area.<br /> <br /> The project involved 840 students and 24 teachers from four primary schools in Kingston.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is easy to answer from recall knowledge, but students have to be trained how to systematically decompose questions into algebraic form. In order to develop mathematical concepts in students your knowledge as a teacher must go beyond the scope of what you&rsquo;re teaching. Also, a good grasp of English A [language] is important in order to read and understand the questions,&rdquo; she said yesterday while speaking at the press briefing held at Mico to disclose the findings of the research.<br /> <br /> Moreover, Binns-Thompson further said that statistics have shown that performance in math at the primary and secondary levels ranges from poor to average and cited the 2013 National Education Inspectorate report, which revealed that math performance in 73 per cent of the schools examined was unsatisfactory.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Ministry of Education is fully aware of the issue of under performance in mathematics and as such, in the math and numeracy report of 2011 it was recommended that mathematics classrooms should embrace the development of analytical, reasoning and critical thinking skills as one of the central goals of teaching mathematics,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Now the ministry, being aware that these skills should be developed, they are also of the opinion that teachers&rsquo; subject knowledge should be enhanced above the scope of which they teach.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Professor Neville Ying, pro-chancellor of Mico, said understanding and addressing the psychological needs and motivation of teachers and students are more important than the subject matter.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Effective teaching must start with the mindset that every child can learn mathematics, and the guiding principle is that the essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated but to make complicated things simple,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Passion and the ability of the teacher to pass on knowledge to the student is critical. Passion dismisses fear and replaces it with self confidence and excitement, which facilitates the learning of mathematics. The integration of English, drama, sports, information and communication technologies in the teaching and learning of mathematics can significantly improve students&rsquo; performance in mathematics. Integration of these subjects areas in the teaching and learning of mathematics caters effectively to multiple intelligences that exist in our classrooms,&rdquo; Ying emphasised..<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Professor David Burghes, director of the Centre of Innovation in Mathematics teaching at the University of Plymouth in England, which partnered with Mico for the research, said a strong mathematical foundation in the primary sector is the only long-term solution to improve performance. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is very important at the primary level that we have no child left behind. It means you have to have interventions and teachers who are well able to understand the issue and the problems in mathematics that our learners have,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> But, Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid said while the pilot project will help ramp up teaching and learning outcomes in mathematics, a high level of training and competency is required by professionals who teach the subject.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Out of the 1784 teachers teaching mathematics in high schools, only about 230 have a full mathematics degree so that is where we are coming from,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;If we are asked to deliver in the subject areas, every single teacher must have the highest level of training and certification and must be competent, that must be the policy we are driving forward.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;What we are going to be trying to do with that initiative is make sure we validate everybody...and have defined teachers in the classroom. We will also assess whether you should remain in the teaching profession [because] if after three, four, five years there is no impact in your teaching, you&rsquo;re in the wrong profession,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> The study employed an experimental mix- method design and investigated factors that contribute to underperformance in mathematics. It also identified how problem- solving skills are developed in mathematics.<br /> <br /> Additionally, the research found that there are several teaching strategies &mdash; such as co-operative learning strategies and humanistic methods &mdash; that may be employed when developing students&rsquo; problem solving skills. These include the use of technology, role play and poetry.<br /> <br /> The recommendations state that policymakers in the education sector should ensure that all teachers of mathematics are given an opportunity to enhance subject knowledge and that the developing of problem-solving skills in students becomes mandatory in all mathematics lessons, at all levels of the education system.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13286897/228380__w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 15, 2016 12:00 AM