The Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Senator Harcourt Husbands, says despite poor student performance in Mathematics and Science subjects in Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations, the situation can be turned around.
Pointing out that it has been recognized globally that Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects were critical to economic development, Husbands said: “The Caribbean is no exception. Barbados is no exception.”
However, he said for improvement to occur, there was a need for more capacity building among students, which should be led by teachers at the primary school level.
“While I appreciate the significance of the numbers of how poorly some of our students perform in Mathematics at the level of CXC, I would only suggest that all is not lost,” Husbands said.
“It is known that the results of Science and Maths examinations offered by the Caribbean Examinations Council are below an acceptable level. We must overcome the challenge being encountered in order to accelerate the region’s development through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. To this end, the main area of focus must be teacher training,” added Husbands.
In that regard, he said greater emphasis was needed on providing courses in knowledge content and practical areas, “specifically how to teach Mathematics and Science”.
Husbands was among speakers at the opening of a primary science education workshop at the 3Ws Oval this morning. Describing the workshop as a step in the right direction, he urged teachers to use the knowledge gained to “impact the lives of the children”.
“The region cannot actualize the associated benefits of STEM unless it builds capacity in its human resources. Our capacity building efforts must start with the teachers at the primary level as you are the ones charged with building that sound platform of knowledge, skills and attitudes which are required for success at all levels in the educational system,” he urged participating teachers from the Eastern Caribbean.
He acknowledged that the journey would also require collaboration and partnerships with service clubs and other groups, as well as co-operation from all stakeholders. He said while greater focus was needed on STEM education, areas such as the arts and history should not, however, be left out. (MM)