Kingston, Jamaica –Friday, July 13, 2018: To improve the innovation capabilities of Jamaica’s next generation of scientists and engineers, the Digicel Foundation renovated science labs at the Buff Bay High School in Portland, recently. The upgrade is geared towards helping students between grades 7-9 improve their performance in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas.
Speaking at the official handover ceremony on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, National Science Coordinator in the Ministry of Education, Sadpha Bennett welcomed the installation and delivery of new, modern scientific equipment. He commented, “This sort of thrust into Science education and more broadly STEM knowledge, will lead to the development of our students’ minds and their interests. Proper exposure to these subject areas and the right resources can lead to the birth of future inventors, scientists, app developers and other such innovative minds of the future,” said Sadpha Bennett, National Science Coordinator in the Ministry of Education.
Buff Bay High is one of four high schools to benefit from renovated science labs through the Foundation. The project serves a combined population of over five thousand students. The other schools are Tacky High in St. Mary High, B.B. Coke High in St. Elizabeth, and Green Island High in Hanover. Total renovations were completed at a cost of approximately J$39 million. Three additional high schools are slated to receive renovated labs valued at J$33 million this year.
“This donation is another example of the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to science education,” said Digicel Foundation Chairman Jean Lowrie-Chin. “Jamaica’s proficiency in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – the STEM subjects – will shape our future and our global competitiveness. So many aspects of our economy and society depend on STEM capabilities. The Digicel Foundation has seen the need to provide tools for the empowerment of our high school students in these areas, in support of the Ministry of Education’s new National Standard Curriculum.”
Renovation work included the supply and installation of new laboratory work counters, science lab double gas turrets and faucets; the installation of floor finishes and doors; painting and refurbishment; and electrical work, including an electrical alarm system. The school was also equipped with lab stools, interactive whiteboard solutions, as well as lab equipment and materials for all four science subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Integrated Science) as recommended by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).
In addition to this project, the Digicel Foundation has partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to provide 43 schools with Mobile Science Units and complementary equipment - an investment of J$100 million.