Much of the success of the education system comes as a result of its stakeholders.

This was intimated last Saturday as Acting Minister of Education, Senator Harcourt Husbands, addressed the launch ceremony of the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge 2016, at Olympus Cinemas, Sheraton Mall.

Commending Sagicor???s contribution to the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education locally and regionally, Senator Husbands said they had to be thanked for ???exposing our young people to an ever broadening future???.

He added: ???We have said repeatedly that it is widely accepted that, in STEM, this is where the jobs are, and not just any jobs but jobs of high quality. So, as we develop this project and expose more of our young people to STEM work, I think our future is assured.???

The Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), who are also partners in the Challenge competition, were recognised for promoting STEM in the school curriculum and in society, generally.

The Acting Education Minister, however, warned against persons limiting their views on STEM education to believing the system was merely interested in producing more Mathematicians and Engineers.

He noted that as important as this was, the aim was broader. ???The entire aim is the application of STEM to the development of Barbados, and how the exposure helps us to solve some of the challenges that we confront in our development,??? he explained.

However, the Senator reminded prospective Sagicor Visionaries that the education system was not just about STEM and there were a wide variety of issues to confront in their endeavours. He said it was also about character building; service to country and giving back to the community that has helped them; and the ability to defeat the level of crime in society.

Sagicor???s Chief Operating Officer, Edward Clarke, pointed out that the Challenge was established as a way to foster greater understanding of STEM among the region???s young people. He added that his company had collaborated with the CSF and CXC ???to put the framework in place to bring about much needed change???.

Acknowledging that Sagicor was celebrating 175 years on the island, Mr. Clarke who is also General Manager for Operations here, said as it looked to its future, it would also look to the future of the community and young people.

???We want to do our part to solidify progress for the region through the accomplishments of tomorrow???s very bright citizens. As technology continues to change…by the minute, we must arm ourselves with the knowledge to keep up the good work,??? he stressed.

Mr. Clarke further registered satisfaction that some, who had passed through the finals of the Challenge here, had gone on to win scholarships and exhibitions and were now overseas pursuing studies at universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and McGill.

The next edition of the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge is in April 2016, with a grand prize trip to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and other venues such as the Museum of Science and Industry and the EPCOT Centre at Disney World.

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