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'More practical approaches needed to teach science'

Published:Tuesday | April 11, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Executive Director of the Scientific Research Council, Dr Cliff Riley (right) and Tamika Drummond, project manager of the Improving Innovation Capacities in the Caribbean Project, listen to a point being made by senior lecturer and Science Centre Coordinator at Church Teachers’ College, Tillack Hardeen.


Executive Director of the Scientific Research Council (SRC), Dr Cliff Riley, said more practical approaches are needed in the teaching of the sciences in schools.

He noted that the reason some students continue to struggle with those subjects in external examinations like the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), is due to their "unattractiveness".

"When you look at the passes in mathematics, they are very low. Passes in physics, chemistry, and biology are far lower than in normal business areas as well as in (modern) languages. We're struggling and we need to make it more practical," he emphasised.

Riley was one of the participants at a two-day Caribbean Science Education and Technology Conference, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, on April 10.

He suggested that to overcome this struggle, recognition of the importance of science and its impact on the lives of Jamaicans, as well as on national development, was required.




Senior Lecturer and Science Centre Coordinator at Church Teachers' College, Tillack Hardeen, agreed with Riley that more practical approaches must be adopted in the teaching of science.

"Science isn't being taught the way it should be. Real science is science that you explore, that you touch and see, and that's where the excitement comes in (and) where you get people interested," he said.

... SRC uses initiatives to boost learning

Dr Cliff Riley, executive director of the Scientific Research Council (SRC) has said that the SRC has been doing its part to improve the learning and teaching of science in schools.

Among those initiatives is the National Science and Technology Fair, which was held on March 21.

This gave students the opportunity to create innovative products and included categories such as education and entertainment; food, water, and agriculture; information and communications technology (ICT); electronics and robotics; environmental stewardship; green energy; transportation; security, and sports.




The most impactful of the SRC's programmes, Riley noted, is the Improving Innovation Capacities in the Caribbean Project.

It entails fully equipping 16 science laboratories in schools in Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago with science tools and supplies donated by the European Union.