Mon | Aug 10, 2020

STEM school announced for Norwood

Published:Saturday | January 11, 2020 | 12:09 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


Member of parliament for St James North West, Dr Horace Chang, has announced plans for the construction of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) school in Norwood, which is located in his constituency.

The school may initially enrol boys exclusively, partly because young Jamaican males are marginalised in the education system, he said.

“While we have a lot of activities involving young men, we have an education system which is designed to suppress our young, humble, male society, and that means 99 per cent young black males.

“The entire system is designed to put them at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder; that is, the education system we have inherited, and we have not done enough to transform and change it,” said Chang.

The national security minister made the announcement in Ironshore, Montego Bay, while addressing a ceremony on Thursday for the renaming of Quebec Avenue as Dr Horace Chang Boulevard.

Chang said that 25 acres of land sited between Ironshore and Norwood would be allocated to the STEM school. The property is currently owned by the St James Municipal Corporation.

“I’m looking towards putting one of the new STEM schools in that area. In the initial stages, we may very well make it a boys’ school, because we have a real challenge for space for boys in St James, and we have a real challenge for education for young males,” said Chang, who committed to getting the project off the ground this year.

In November, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that the six STEM schools which are to be built would operate outside of the 1980 Education Act, which currently governs the administration of the public-school system. Holness, a former minister of education, said that the new schools’ legislative framework would be performance-based.

However, the prime minister’s announcement has been met with opposition, with the Jamaica Teachers’ Association calling for improvement of STEM performance in all Jamaican schools instead of the creation of specialist institutions.