STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE SHARIE B. DE CASTRO
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, YOUTH AFFAIRS & SPORTS
THIRD SITTING OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE FIFTH
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
THURSDAY, 7TH SEPTEMBER 2023
THE INTRODUCTION OF NEW S.T.E.A.M. SUBJECT OFFERINGS ON THE SECONDARY LEVEL AND INTEGRATION OF S.T.E.A.M. ACROSS AREAS ON THE PRIMARY LEVEL
Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Education welcomes the start of the 2023-2024 school year under the theme Virgin Islands Education; Moving Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead. S.T.E.A.M education is an approach to teaching and learning that promotes critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills.
Madam Speaker, I am excited to report that starting this school year on Monday, 11th September, public secondary schools in the Virgin Islands will offer S.T.E.A.M. Innovations, the newest addition to our course and curriculum offerings. Madam Speaker, this program is designed to equip students with essential skills and knowledge in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.
This course aims to prepare students for the professions of the future by fostering creativity, problem-solving abilities, and a deep understanding of modern technologies.
All students in seventh grade will be exposed to the new course, which will start off with developing research skills and learning the nuances of the various applications on the Google platform; improving their chances of success in all other classes. Madam Speaker, throughout the course, students will engage in critical thinking exercises and projects that encourage them to analyze complex problems, think creatively, and make informed decisions.
In an increasingly digital world, students will develop the skills and competencies that will foster digital literacy, by learning about online safety, data privacy, and responsible technology use. These skills are essential for navigating the digital landscape and are applicable in various professions.
Eight and ninth graders will be able to select the course as one of their technical subjects. Our students will learn programming languages, gain hands-on experience in creating software applications, games, and websites. This foundational knowledge will be crucial for careers in software development, computer science and other technological fields.The course includes practical robotics projects where students will design, build, and program robots.
This hands-on experience will help them develop problem-solving skills and an understanding of automation, a key component of modern industries. Students will be encouraged to explore their creativity and develop innovative solutions to real-world problems. Madam Speaker, this S.T.E.A.M. Innovations course will introduce students to emerging professions and industries such as artificial intelligence, data science, renewable energy, and much more. They will gain insights into potential career paths and opportunities in the ever-evolving job market.
Madam Speaker, this course is a part of the Ministry’s five-year plan to reimagine education in the Virgin Islands. By offering this S.T.E.A.M. Innovations course, our secondary schools will better empower students with the skills and knowledge needed to excel. This program will not only prepare them for future careers but also inspire them to become lifelong learners and innovative thinkers.
This S.T.E.A.M. Innovations course reflects the commitment of the Ministry of Education to prepare students for the rapidly evolving world of technology and innovation. By offering this comprehensive programme, students will be better equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, thereby ensuring a bright and prosperous future for themselves and by extension for the territory.
Thank you Madam Speaker.