Gore De­vel­op­ments Limited lends a help­ing hand

Jamaica Gleaner - - TODAY -

INE MORE of the is­land’s high schools will re­ceive a ma­jor boost to their sci­ence pro­grammes with the gift of state-of-theart Mo­bile Sci­ence Labs from the Dig­i­cel Foun­da­tion.

Al­ready, 32 schools have been out­fit­ted with the mod­ern fa­cil­i­ties, and now nine oth­ers will en­joy the ben­e­fits of sci­ence lessons with their own welle­quipped mo­bile labs.

The an­nounce­ment of the nine ben­e­fi­cia­ries was made at the José Martí Tech­ni­cal High School in St Cather­ine re­cently at the launch of Phase Three of the foun­da­tion’s Mo­bile Sci­ence Lab pro­gramme which be­gan in 2014.

With the com­ple­tion of phases one and two of the pro­gramme, more than 3,000 stu­dents in grades seven to nine in 32 schools mainly in town cen­tres now have lab ac­cess on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

The pro­gramme has helped to ad­dress the chal­lenges of space, re­sources and tech­nol­ogy that Ja­maica’s ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor faces. This low-cost so­lu­tion pro­vides a sim­ple yet ef­fec­tive op­por­tu­nity for schools to con­vert any space into a sci­en­tific en­vi­ron­ment with tools that teach physics, bi­ol­ogy and chem­istry.

The units are ac­com­pa­nied by a Mimio de­vice, which al­lows teach­ers to turn any sur­face into an in­ter­ac­tive white­board. Ad­di­tion­ally, the stan­dard lab tools – beakers, mi­cro­scopes, test tubes, trol­leys, pipettes, fun­nels, scalpels and flasks — are in­cluded.

MORE OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES

In­creased ac­cess to sci­ence labs has been a fac­tor in the im­prove­ment of the re­sults of the 2016 Caribbean Se­condary Ed­u­ca­tion Cer­tifi­cate (CSEC) ex­am­i­na­tions. The high­est per­cent­age in­crease of 12.3 per cent was recorded in bi­ol­ogy, and there were im­prove­ments in hu­man and so­cial bi­ol­ogy of 4.9 per cent, and in physics, of 0.7 per cent.

Head of the Sci­ence De­part­ment at the José Martí Tech­ni­cal High School, Len­ford John­son, was pleased at the im­prove­ment that he has seen in the grades of the stu­dents who have been in­tro­duced to the mo­bile sci­ence lab. TUSHUN GREEN rep­re­sent­ing Gore De­vel­op­ments Limited (GDL) handed over a cheque val­ued at $100,000 to Vir­ginia Chin of the Cas­sava Piece De­vel­op­ment & Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre/CDEC (for­merly known as HELP/Help Es­tab­lish Li­brary Projects in Ja­maica) on Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 2. The money was a much-needed in­fu­sion of funds to help keep the CDEC’s doors open.

Chin, who runs the well-kept, colour­ful and safe space in the some­times trou­bled com­mu­nity, was very happy for the as­sis­tance as she en­deav­ours to keep HANDS-ON LEARN­ING:

“The im­pact and feed­back have been tremen­dous as the lab has gen­er­ated a lot of in­ter­est among the stu­dents, and we see marked im­prove­ments in their grades, so we are very grate­ful to be a part of this ex­cel­lent ini­tia­tive,” John­son said.

Ac­cord­ing to chair­man of the Dig­i­cel the cen­tre, which has come a long way un­der her guid­ance, op­er­a­tional. Start­ing out as a ba­sic class­room for lo­cal chil­dren to be safe while do­ing home­work after school hours, it has blos­somed into a haven for both chil­dren and adults to learn and be cre­ative in the fields of Im­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (IT), art, sports and mu­sic.

NOT TOO LATE

The cen­tre con­sists of an open gen­eral read­ing area with a well-stocked li­brary (cour­tesy of donors) that in­cludes qual­ity books for chil­dren of all ages on his­tory, sci­ence and business, Foun­da­tion, Jean Lowrie-Chin, the con­tin­u­a­tion of the pro­gramme has re­in­forced the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s man­date to cre­ate more op­por­tu­ni­ties for prac­ti­cal teach­ing and learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences around sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics (STEM) sub­jects in se­condary schools. with a fo­cus on writ­ers from the Caribbean, Africa and the Amer­i­cas. As well as pro­vid­ing a safe, clean, en­vi­ron­ment for su­per­vised study, it pro­vides as­sis­tance to chil­dren from six -18 and adults of all ages. It is never too late to en­rol in the lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy classes on of­fer. CDEC now boasts a small, wellkept com­puter lab, with a pro­fes­sional from HEART on hand who vol­un­teers his time and con­sid­er­able IT ex­per­tise to all those will­ing to learn.

GDL, as keen spon­sors of schol­ar­ships at the se­condary and ter­tiary lev­els, was more

“The foun­da­tion recog­nises that the way for­ward for our youth is to equip them with ef­fi­cient and for­ward­think­ing tools in or­der for them to im­prove life as we know it through sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy. We are happy to be pro­vid­ing so many schools with th­ese labs, which will aid their teach­ing than happy to lend a hand and glad to see such a vi­brant project stand­ing firm in Cas­sava Piece; process sig­nif­i­cantly,” Lowrie-Chin said.

In the third phase of the project, An­notto Bay, Fair Prospect, Bog Walk, Mile Gully, La­covia, Hopewell, Mer­lene Ottey and Al­bert Town and Brown’s Town high schools will ben­e­fit in this aca­demic year. to en­cour­age lo­cal res­i­dents and those from the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity (some from as far as Stony Hill) to study, learn new skills or vol­un­teer to help out as well.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Meschica Dixon (left), stu­dent coun­cil vice-pres­i­dent; Al­ti­mont Luke (cen­tre), sec­ond deputy head boy; and Dig­i­cel Foun­da­tion Board Di­rec­tor Pa­trick King un­der­take an ex­per­i­ment us­ing tools from the Mo­bile Sci­ence Lab­o­ra­tory at the launch of phase three of the Mo­bile Sci­ence Lab Pro­gramme at the José Martí Tech­ni­cal High School in St Cather­ine on Thurs­day, Novem­ber 17.

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