Kingston, Jamaica – Thursday, November 17, 2016: Nine more of the island's high schools will receive a major boost to their science programmes with the gift of state-of-the-art Mobile Science Labs from the Digicel Foundation.
Already 32 schools have been outfitted with these modern hi-tech facilities and now nine others will enjoy the benefits of science lessons with their own well-equipped mobile labs.
The announcement of the nine beneficiaries was made at Jose Marti Technical High School on Thursday, November 10 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, over 3,000 students in Grades 7-9 in 32 schools mainly in town centres now have lab access on a regular basis.
The much applauded programme has helped to address the recurring challenges of space, resources and technology that Jamaica’s education sector faces. This low-cost solution provide a simple yet effective opportunity for schools to convert any space into a scientific environment with tools that teach across multiple disciplines, namely, 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.
Increased access to science labs has been a factor in the improvement of the results of the 2016 CSEC examinations. The highest percentage increase of 12.3 per cent was recorded in Biology. There were improvements in Human and Social Biology, of 4.9 percentage points; and Physics, 0.7 percentage points.
Head of the Science department at the Jose Marti Technical High School, Lenford Johnson, expressed pride at the improvement that he has seen in the grades of students who have been introduced to the mobile science lab.
“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,” explained Johnson.
According to Chairman of the Digicel 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.
“The Foundation recognises that the way forward for our youths is to equip them with efficient and forward thinking tools in order for them 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 process significantly,” said Lowrie-Chin.
In this third phase of the project, the following high schools will benefit in this academic year: Annotto Bay, Fair Prospect, Bog Walk, Mile Gully, Lacovia, Hopewell, Merlene Ottey and Albert Town and Brown's Town
Already, the Foundation has invested some $10 million in this programme. By the end of 2017, a total of 50 schools will have mobile science labs.
With its continued strong commitment to the education of the nation’s children, Digicel Foundation will also be helping schools to reduce their energy costs through the creation of renewable energy solutions in 15 institutions. This is expected to impact the operational costs associated with running and maintaining those institutions.