STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE SHARIE B. DE CASTRO
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, YOUTH AFFAIRS & SPORTS
EIGHT SITTING OF THE FOURTH SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
TUESDAY, 15TH NOVEMBER, 2022
INNOVATION WEEK 2022
Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to update this Honourable House and this Community on Innovation Week 2022. The Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs, and Sports is committed to redesigning and reimagining the concept of education to meet the needs of diverse students in our classrooms and schools. In this digital age, students need an education with different approaches and strategies that will adequately prepare them for a global, competitive workforce. Innovation within the classroom equips students with 21st-century skills and provides a deeper understanding of the concepts taught. Children are significantly better off with strong science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics skills. That is why S.T.E.A.M education programmes are important.
Madam Speaker, with that in mind, the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports hosted Innovation Week 2022 from November 7 - 11, 2022 under the theme “Virgin Islands Education: Moving Full S.T.E.A.M Ahead." The scheduling of the week coincided with International S.T.E.A.M. Day which is celebrated internationally on 8th November annually.
Innovation Week 2022 was held at the Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff’s Bottom. Each school in the territory both public and private was invited to bring a cohort of students from Grades 3 - 8 on the day designated, Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.
Madam Speaker, the Centre was transformed into STEAM zones and each station exposed students to various forms of innovation, creation, collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving and other STEAM-focused activities. Students moved between stations and utilised their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to complete the prepared activities. Students explored S.T.E.A.M. through robotics, engineering, 3D Printing, creative arts, chess and critical thinking games, puzzles and mazes. Madam Speaker, this week also aroused curiosity as well as increased interest in the upcoming Science Fair scheduled for March 2023 will also promote S.T.E.A.M. There were also sessions for Principals, Education Officers and teachers who have committed to being S.T.E.A.M. ambassadors in our schools.
Madam Speaker, during the week varied S.T.E.A.M. challenges were released to schools daily. This gave the opportunity for all students in all schools to engage in S.T.E.A.M. focused, project-based learning. On Friday, 11th November, there was a S.T.E.A.M. Expo which showcased the activities and projects that students and schools engaged in during the week. The exhibition was open to the general public. I take this opportunity to thank all the individuals who came out in support of the S.T.E.A.M. Expo as it was very well attended. The energy in the room was visible and palpable and the excitement on the faces of all stakeholders further proved that the use of experiential and exploratory learning in schools through S.T.E.A.M. is vital to the continued advancement of education in the territory.
Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports will continue to emphasize the use of S.T.E.A.M techniques and resources within the classroom as we move Virgin Islands Education: Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead.
Thank you Madam Speaker.