May 3, 2015: EDUCATION MINISTER Ronald Thwaites has appointed several industry leaders to spearhead the transformation of selected technical high schools into Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics or STEM academies that will produce persons qualified for employment in several sectors of the economy.
A STEM academy is generally an institution that uses Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as the base for the structuring and timetabling of its programmes. In the upper school -grades 10 and 11- students will be offered competency-based training to make them “job ready”. In the lower grades STEM, along with Technical Vocational Education and Training, will be emphasised in the curriculum. Over time the school is expected to be transformed into a STEM Academy.
Shipping industry leader, Grantley Stephenson has been appointed chairman of the STEM Transformation Committee at St Andrew Technical High, which will be a hub for training in Logistics and Transport including land, sea and air. Construction industry leader, YP Seaton will head the STEM Transformation Committee at Kingston Technical High, which will focus on the Built Environment including roads, bridges, and physical infrastructure.
In the areas of Science and Mathematics, noted scientist Professor Errol Morrison will lead the transformation of Jamaica College into a STEM Academy. In the Information Communication Technology and Business Processing Outsourcing Sector leader Yoni Epstein will lead the transformation of Herbert Morrison Technical High into a STEM academy.
At St Mary Technical High, food manufacturer Charles Johnston will lead its transformation into a STEM Academy with focus on agronomy, farm management and food processing. Similarly, livestock industry leader Dr Keith Amiel will oversee the transformation of Dinthill Technical High into a STEM academy based on livestock and small ruminant farming.
Closing the list of transformation committee chairmen is telecommunications expert, Hugh Cross who will lead the process of restructuring Dunoon Park Technical High into a STEM academy focused on telecommunications and new media technologies.
In a meeting last week with the Transformation Committee Chairmen, Minister Thwaites commended them for taking on the responsibility of bringing the education system, particularly at the secondary level, more closely aligned to industry. He said that with this kind of partnership students will be better prepared to meet specific skill needs of industry immediately after leaving the secondary level, adding that those who chose to move on to higher level education will be more rounded.
The Education Minister charged education officials and school leaders to ensure the infusion of the STEM methodology in the school curriculum according to the skills and competencies identified by the industry partners.