Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, has welcomed the launch of the Dr. Joseph Tait STEAM Infusion project at Jamaica College.
Speaking at the launch and opening of the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Laboratory, Wednesday (January 27), Mrs. Williams said the initiative, which is funded by Dr. Tait, is in line with the thrust of the Ministry to enable students to have greater access to the technology and the resources needed to thrive as 21st century learners.
“At the Ministry we are committed to the task of ensuring that none of our students is left behind as we seek to eliminate the digital divide that exists in our society. This divide has been made even more evident with the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for our classrooms to be moved to the virtual space,” she said.
The Minister argued that the opening of the Laboratory is one of the best examples of how crucial it is for partnerships to be encouraged in education.
“Because of the outreach of one man and his team, many young men will be able to be inspired in this lab, opening up to them a world of possibilities,” Mrs. Williams said.
She noted that, overall, the STEAM Infusion project is forward-thinking and innovative.
“If Jamaica is to be the place to live, work, raise families and do business, then our workforce, through our education sector, has to be equally competitive on the global market. The investment truly begins in education,” Mrs. Williams said.
She further noted that the STEAM movement has been earning traction over the years in Jamaica and other countries.
“I am sure we will reap the reward of Dr. Tait’s investment for years to come and I am sure there will be more hands available to join him and others like him on this journey to improve the education of our children,” Mrs. Williams said.
For his part, Board Chairman, Jamaica College, Michael Bernard, said the school aims to be amongst the leading institutions in Jamaica in the use of technology.
“What Dr. Tait has done is help us to be able to stand up and be counted amongst such schools and we feel privileged and honoured to be able to hold our heads high with the addition of this facility under your sponsorship and your support,” Mr. Bernard said.
System Administrator at Jamaica College, Dawn MacGregor-Bromfield, said every subject is supported with the STEAM infrastructure products and equipment that have been put in place.
She further noted that an audiovisual room was created primarily for the teachers where they could “be trained in not just STEAM… but [where] they could go and practise and they could build their confidence to go into the classroom and actually use the products”.
She added that the audiovisual room is also used for meetings and international online training.
Ms. MacGregor-Bromfield further informed that the library was upgraded, and the school has increased its bandwidth and improved the fibre network.
“We have upgraded classrooms and one of them we have actually retrofitted to become a mini theatre and the mini theatre actually has the ability to bring in again all subjects, because every subject can have role play. So, they can come in and dramatise whatever it is that they are learning,” she said.
In his remarks, Dr. Tait said he feels “a certain amount of excitement at what this could hold for the future and I also feel a certain amount of gratitude… [that] this little country boy from Clarendon could do this for his college and for his country”.
“I am grateful for the support of the Jamaica College community,” he said, adding that he will also be supporting the implementation of an amphitheatre for the dramatic arts at the school.