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Academics not enough for a child’s development – STEM director

Academics not enough for a child’s development – STEM director

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While academic Studies are important to a child’s development, they are not enough.

Petrus Gumbs, director of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) summer programme expressed this view last Friday, as he addressed the closing ceremony of the five-week programme at the Methodist Church {{more}}Hall in Kingstown.

“Is just reading and regurgitating information enough for your child to succeed in the world today? We say no!”

The 120 students, including 30 from primary schools, spent the last five weeks paying visits to technology based sites, including the Rivulet Agricultural site, the Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory at Orange Hill and VINLEC’s power plant at Lowmans Bay.

“We need to start working with kids to show them that what they are learning has other applications and it is important for the jobs tomorrow. Technology, art and science; let’s show them how all these subject areas incorporate into their everyday lives and how they can use these simple things to make themselves more marketable,” Gumbs stated.

He stated that STEM serves as a catalyst for helping students to use their existing knowledge to explore less ventured fields of study and become more exposed to lucrative jobs.

Gumbs is also of the view that persons should not be trained to fit a job, but that they should be trained to create those jobs.

During the programme, the students were tutored in Math, Science, English, Technology and Art and were also actively involved in developing application software, personal websites and video games, using industry standard software.

The students from the secondary schools were taught how to make soaps, lip balms and about different aspects of robotics.

Gumbs said the success of the programme would not have been possible without the commitment and devotion of the teachers and mentors.

“These are teachers from across the country and they choose to take their summer and volunteer their time to make this programme a success,” he said.

Since its inception in 2013, STEM has worked with over 250 participants. With the introduction of the primary programme this year, Gumbs said they decided to hand select mentors who had previously participated in the programme whom students could look up to.

Gumbs also disclosed that plans are being made to create an after school programme in which students would be involved in one hour of programming. Furthermore, Gumbs said he wants to assist teachers in becoming more comfortable with Information Technology.

He also revealed that his organization will be pushing their robotics programme into six schools.

Jean Johnney-Findlay, manager of Coreas City Store, one of STEM’s sponsors, told the audience that they jumped on the opportunity to be on board with the programme because of their belief in the nation’s youth.

Johnney-Findlay urged the participants to continue to develop themselves and make meaningful contributions to their families, schools and communities.

She congratulated Gumbs and his team for an exciting programme and pledged Coreas’ support for next year.

Brief remarks also came from representatives from other sponsors including GECCU and Gibson’s Building Supplies.(KW)

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