Gov’t providing scholarships for 1,250 STEM teachers
THE Government will be providing full tuition scholarships with the aim of preparing 1,250 new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers over the next five years.
The Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) and The Mico University College will partner in the undertaking.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke made the disclosure as he opened the 2023/24 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 7.
The minister said that as Jamaica seeks to accelerate its pace of growth, the aim is to have a technically proficient workforce that can sustain higher value-added investment and jobs.
“We’re in a world where robotics and artificial intelligence, and nano-technology and genetics and biochemistry promise to reshape our world in profound ways…Jamaica must increase its level of science, technology, engineering and mathematics attainment so as not to be left behind,” he noted.
“Jamaica’s forward-thinking education transformation plan recognises this paradigm shift with the prime minister’s introduction of STEM schools, and we must begin to prepare ourselves through the deliberate and urgent supply of well-trained teachers with the skills and values to drive the STEM implementation across all schools,” Dr Clarke added.
The minister told the House that of the full cohort of students who sit the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination on an annual basis, only 15 per cent are qualified to sit the STEM subjects, and only a small fraction of that percentage will be qualified to enter teacher training.
“We must fill the math and science teaching and learning gaps, and this will power the new schools that the prime minister is working on in conjunction with the Ministry of Education,” he noted.
The Mico University College is the oldest teacher-training institution in the Western Hemisphere. The SLB is Jamaica’s premier student loan financing organisation and is a body under the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.