Digicel Foundation launches phase three of Mobile Science Lab initiative
Nine more of the island's high schools will receive a major boost to their science programmes with the gift of state-of-the-art Mobile Science Labs from the Digicel Foundation.
Already, 32 schools have been outfitted with the modern facilities, and now nine others will enjoy the benefits of science lessons with their own well-equipped mobile labs.
The announcement of the nine beneficiaries was made at the JosÈ MartÌ Technical High School in St Catherine recently at the launch of phase three of the foundation's Mobile Science Lab programme which began in 2014.
With the completion of phases one and two of the programme, more than 3,000 students in grades seven to nine in 32 schools mainly in town centres now have lab access on a regular basis.
The programme has helped to address the challenges of space, resources and technology that Jamaica's education sector faces. This low-cost solution provides a simple yet effective opportunity for schools to convert any space into a scientific environment with tools that teach physics, biology and chemistry.
The units are accompanied by a Mimio device, which allows teachers to turn any surface into an interactive whiteboard. Additionally, the standard lab tools - beakers, microscopes, test tubes, trolleys, pipettes, funnels, scalpels and flasks are included.
Increased access to science labs has been a factor in the improvement of the results of the 2016 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations. The highest percentage increase of 12.3 per cent was recorded in biology, and there were improvements in human and social biology of 4.9 per cent, and in physics, of 0.7 per cent.
Head of the Science Department at the JosÈ MartÌ Technical High School, Lenford Johnson, was pleased at the improvement that he has seen in the grades of the students who have been introduced to the mobile science lab.
"The impact and feedback have been tremendous as the lab has generated a lot of interest among the students, and we see marked improvements in their grades, so we are very grateful to be a part of this excellent initiative," Johnson said.
According to chairman of the Digicel Foundation, Jean Lowrie-Chin, the continuation of the programme has reinforced the organisation's mandate to create more opportunities for practical teaching and learning experiences around science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in secondary schools.
"The foundation recognises that the way forward for our youth is to equip them with efficient and forward-thinking tools in order for them to improve life as we know it through science and technology. We are happy to be providing so many schools with these labs, which will aid their teaching process significantly," Lowrie-Chin said.
In the third phase of the project, Annotto Bay, Fair Prospect, Bog Walk, Mile Gully, Lacovia, Hopewell, Merlene Ottey and Albert Town and Brown's Town high schools will benefit in this academic year.