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Jamaica and British Council Sign Five-Year Partnership on STEAM Education

Jamaica is to benefit from a five-year partnership with the British Council aimed at enhancing cooperation in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will guide the arrangement, was signed during a press conference following the Jamaica-United Kingdom (UK) strategic dialogue at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade’s downtown Kingston offices on May 19.

The signatories were Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Maureen Dwyer; Executive Director, National Education Trust (NET), Latoya Harris Ghartey; and Country Director, Jamaica and the Caribbean Islands, British Council, Damion Campbell.

The MOU signing was witnessed by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, UK, the Rt. Hon. James Cleverly.

In an interview with JIS News, Ms. Dwyer said the signing represents an expansion of the relationship with the British Council as it relates to STEAM and Science Technology Education and Mathematics (STEM) education.

“Just last year, a study was conducted in the Jamaican education sector to see how well prepared we are for teaching methodologies related to STEM as well as the teaching of STEM itself. The British Council sponsored that research and when the results were collated, they presented it to us,” she said.

She noted further that a team of local educators conducted a successful tour of the British education system and “we learned a lot [which will inform] our thrust now to build seven STEM schools in Jamaica”.

“What they have done now with the signing …is to expand the relationship to other areas to see how well they can continue to support us both in training and in our build-out of the infrastructure. So, we are very pleased for this partnership and we are looking forward to what it brings,” Ms. Dwyer added.

Mr. Campbell, for his part, noted that the collaboration will create more educational opportunities for young people.

“For the Council, it means we are able to connect more young people in the UK with Jamaica to share their experiences, expertise, open up their understanding to a more global world but more through the lens of what STEAM education is,” he told JIS News.