There is an increasing awareness about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), in this country.

This was pointed out recently by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harry Husbands, as he addressed the awards ceremony for the Barbados leg of the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge Competition, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Senator Husbands said: ???There is, I think, a growing and positive awareness, not only in the educational system but in the society in general, about the value and importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in education.???

Querying ???why these forces were coalescing??? to bring about such awareness, the Parliamentary Secretary alluded to comments made recently by renowned astrophysicist, Neil DeGrassi Tyson, who noted that countries which put emphasis on STEM education will be the ones to unearth solutions to the difficult problems facing mankind.

???This feeds into the reality that we are experiencing in Barbados ??? the growth of awareness of STEM,??? said Mr. Husbands, adding that Barbadian-born Cardinal Warde, Emeritus professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Head of CSF, had shared similar views when he noted that more and more job opportunities were going to be related to STEM education.

The Parliamentary Secretary thanked Sagicor, CSF and the Caribbean Examinations Council for the competition, and stressed that as an activity critical to both national and personal development, he looked forward to ???greater, larger and wider participation???.

Meanwhile, Chief Operating Officer of Sagicor Life Inc. and General Manager of Barbados Operations, Edward Clarke, described the Challenge Competition as ???a long but very rewarding journey??? for his company, and said he hoped it had inspired students and teachers to embrace STEM and STEM projects as a whole.

???It was hoped that when the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge was launched, we would open up the minds of the region???s students??? and provide in depth exposure to the sciences, particularly STEM???

“We hope that involvement in this challenge would pave the way for innovative developments which would improve the lives of generations to come in the region,??? he said.

While calling for more participation by Barbadian students in the competition, Mr. Clarke noted that this year???s challenge saw over 250 submissions from 100 schools in eight countries, with at least one country submitting 40 entries.

To those students who were not successful, the Sagicor official urged their continued interest saying: ???We need to have technology and innovation on a wider scale in the region, especially in Barbados. Be innovative and continue to think outside the box, the way you are doing.???

Queen???s College emerged winners with a project called: The Green Way to Get Styrofoam Away, while second and third places went to students from Harrison College for Daytime Lighting Systems and Traffic Monitoring and Alert, respectively.

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