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'Focus on STEM for Jamaica's development'

Published:Monday | December 2, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Professor Claude Packer

Two of the island's noted educators are calling for greater emphasis to be placed on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as areas crucial to Jamaica's development.

Speaking at the Press Association of Jamaica's national award ceremony on Friday, Professor Errol Morrison, president of the University of Technology, said that it is obvious that Jamaica needs to focus more on these areas if it is to achieve its development goals.

"Insufficient attention is being given to the important corollary between STEM education and Jamaica's survival in this knowledge-based economy. It is clear that we in Jamaica need more education; we need more of the type of education and the level of education that will put us on the developmental path," Morrison said.

A day before, at the launch of The Mico University College's Institute of Technological and Educational Research, the institution's president, Professor Claude Packer, expressed similar views.

Packer argued that to "enhance our country's economic, scientific and cultural growth and development" educators must start seeing science, mathematics and technology as agents in changing the quality of life.

He said it is now imperative for us to start training students to think scientifically, mathematically and statistically in an effort to spur innovation.

Both Packer and Morrison argued that focus on STEM would also enable the country to study, develop, and earn exponentially from home-grown products and services.

"This will foster original research to energise innovation, through modelling and other modalities of teaching, so that our indigenous products … can be utilised to produce unique products in large quantities for the world market to create substantial wealth for poverty alleviation," Packer noted.

Morrison added that there is a global market out there for Jamaican products, however, we are not studying and innovating enough to profit from these niche areas.