Diaspora Says Jamaica Should Become A STEM Island

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Marlon Lindsay, a Jamaican entrepreneur, based in the United States is suggesting that Jamaica should strive to become a  science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) island, as the country would benefit if Jamaicans were to go in that direction.

Mr Lindsay, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tech Trep in Utah made the suggestion while addressing the plenary session on Education and Training, at the 8th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, which was held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston, June 16-20.

“I believe that being a STEM island would be a great aspirational goal for Jamaica. Because, as a STEM island, we could drive the economies throughout the Caribbean,” he explained.

Mr Lindsay argued that Industry 4.0 was here; and urged educational stakeholders to come together and engage children with a different approach. He said that we should tap into our children’s creativity and engage them in meaningful ways.

“Our children are smart and they can figure things out. They need to be unleashed. We are containing them; therefore, put them at the table and ask them how they should be trained, because your kids are now figuring out stuff that will blow your minds,” he advised.

Diaspora Says Jamaica Should Become A STEM Island says Michael Lindsay

Marlon Lindsay (left), co-founder and chief executive officer of Tech Trep in Utah, USA and Dr Renee Rattray, senior manager, education projects at the JN Foundation pose for a photo after his presentation at the 8th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference held recently.

Dr Renee Rattray, senior manager, education projects at the JN Foundation, agreed with Mr Lindsay on the point that young people should be facilitated, so that they can be creators, to enable them to develop solutions to problems, which we now face.

“…The belief is that technology has to do with resources, the tools and gadgets; however, it has more to do with creating a shift that values what young people bring to the classroom. So many of them are innovating as we speak; and, therefore, we need to let children loose; and allow them to collaborate and demonstrate all that they know. Gone are the days when information resides solely in a text book.” she maintained.

Dr Rattray said that there needs to be a paradigm shift in how our teachers apply knowledge, in which they should be the facilitators and not only impart knowledge to students. They need to be open to the possibility that sometimes students may know more than they do in a particular area or topic. Teachers must use that to their advantage and to the benefit of other students. It makes for a richer learning experience and better prepares young people for the world of work.

Dr Grace McLean, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, who was one of the presenters in the session, urged the Jamaican Diaspora to assist the education sector to align itself to key drivers and international partners to work with Jamaica.

“We are willing to send our educators to learn more about the fourth industrial revolution and the effect that it will have on our education system. Therefore, work is about to change forever, and the Jamaican education system has already set the base for this to happen,” she related.

The 8th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference was held under the theme “Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development”.

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