Sat | Nov 27, 2021

Westwood High cops 2021 Scotiabank-Junior Achievement Innovation Challenge

Published:Monday | May 31, 2021 | 12:12 AM
Students of Westwood High School, winners of the 2021 Scotiabank-Junior Achievement Innovation Challenge.
Students of Westwood High School, winners of the 2021 Scotiabank-Junior Achievement Innovation Challenge.

Though technology has become more integral in accessing educational resources for Jamaican students, a group from the Westwood High School are calling on stakeholders to maximise the use of existing and commonly found resources. This as the country works to secure additional devices such as tablets and laptops for students.

The students from the Trelawny-based institution were awarded top prize for their idea which was presented at the sixth annual Scotiabank National Innovation Camp 2021 coordinated by Junior Achievement Jamaica.

They proposed that the use of compact discs and digital video discs (DVDs), with detailed information and recorded lessons, can be used to address the current gap for students living in remote areas of the country who may not have reliable access to the Internet or the necessary Internet-enabled devices. “While they wait to receive their tablets or the Internet connectivity, students with a desktop computers or DVD players can have access to their lessons,” the team posited.

With reports that up to 25 per cent of students having not participated in any remote-learning activities since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the students were asked to propose an innovative technology solution that would help students at the primary and secondary levels without devices, data access and lack of parental support to excel in upcoming transitional examinations.

During the competition, which was hosted online, high-school students from 10 schools presented their ideas based on the 2021 challenge theme.

“It’s really a great accomplishment and it feels really good that we won,” said Akili Hall, one of five students from Westwood High School, following the announcement of the winners.

Runners-up in the competition were St Jago High School and Morant Bay High School, who placed second and third, respectively. The other participating schools included St Hugh’s, Wycliffe, Port Antonio, Maggotty and Merlene Ottey High high schools, Convent of Mercy Academy ‘Alpha’ and Hampton High School for Girls.

Audrey Tugwell-Henry, president and CEO of Scotiabank, congratulated the winning team and all the participants. She encouraged the students to step outside of their comfort zones, to be resolute and determined, and face challenges with fortitude.

“Today’s demonstration indicated the willingness of both teachers and students, not to languish, but to move ahead. When you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things, to be innovative and adapt, you have the ability to learn new things, and opportunities for advancement,” Tugwell-Henry said.

Alphie Mullings-Aiken, executive board member for Junior Achievement, said the annual National Innovation Camp provides an opportunity to gain insight and ideas from Jamaica’s youngest and most promising minds about how they see the future.

“We are grateful for Scotiabank’s continued investment in Junior Achievement, which seeks to unearth the talents and promote innovativeness in our youth,” Mullings-Aiken said.

The Scotiabank’s Road to Success Programme is a partnership between Scotiabank and JA Americas. It involves working with the local Scotiabank and Junior Achievement offices in approximately 13 countries in the region.