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Three STEAM Academies to Facilitate Residential Accommodation

At least three of the seven Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Academies to be built in Jamaica will facilitate residential accommodation.

Executive Director of the National Education Trust (NET), Latoya Harris-Ghartey, disclosed the details during an interview with JIS News.

“The aim is to have a mix. So, the schools are being proposed to be near urban centres to pull on the existing infrastructure, in terms of commute. But, at the same time, we recognise that there is a need for residential [amenities],” she stated.

Mrs. Harris-Ghartey said it is projected that two academies will be located in each of the three counties.

Land has already been identified in Dunbeholden, St. Catherine and Minard, St. Ann, to establish two of the institutions.

“It is likely [for Dunbeholden] to be the first of the batch [to be completed] because we’re starting the surveying process [for the land]. If we do sign off on the site we will visit in St. Ann, then that’s likely to be academy number two,” the Executive Director informed.

Construction of the academies is expected to be completed over an eight-year period, with each institution being able to facilitate up to 2,400 students.

Mrs. Harris-Ghartey also disclosed that several engagements are still in the procurement process. These include revamping of building standards and alternative energy solutions to facilitate good ventilation.

“We’re actually revamping the entire building standards for the entire education sector, [and] we’ve gone out to get somebody to update those standards, using the elements that we want to be incorporated,” she said.

These include green technologies and requirements for the inclusion of technology in the classroom.