interesting to see how the stem to steam discussion is interpreted by
the former minister of education of jamaica !
Ronald Thwaites, while serving as minister of education under the
previous Administration led by the People's National Party, informed
us that the country's education system would embark on a new
curriculum, placing emphasis in the areas of Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). We cannot recall hearing the then
minister giving us any explanation for the proposed shift in focus
from the curriculum encompassing Science, Technology, Engineering,
Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).
Fast-forward to March 2016. Minister of Education Senator Ruel Reid,
under a new Administration led by the Jamaica Labour Party, has
introduced us to a new programme — Alternative Pathways to Secondary
Education (APSE). Pertinent questions to the current minister include:
What is the connection, if any, between this new programme and focus
and the previous initiative of the former minister? Will this new
programme include a curriculum that will comprise focus on the Arts as
well, or will it exclude same, just like STEM did? Was a cost-benefit
analysis done to assess the viability of this new programme? What is
the likelihood of APSE being the remedy for our ailing education
As young leaders, we are not merely interested in new and different;
we are interested in efficiency and effectiveness resulting from
well-thought-out ideas that will make real and positive difference to
the lives of the Jamaican people. The Jamaican society is, in part,
characterised by overburdened taxpayers with meagre budgets and
stifling bureaucracy. For the sake of our young people and our
country, we call on the minister to fill any existing gaps in the
conception-implementation process of this new programme so that it
will bear fruit and lead us progressively into a more prosperous
Junior Chamber International — Hopewell
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