Education Ministry Implements Initiatives To Boost Steam Learning
#Jamaica, April 4, 2022 – The Ministry of Education and Youth is implementing several initiatives at various levels of the sector to increase science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) learning.
This was stated by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, during the national STEAM career forum at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, on April 1.
She said the Ministry has introduced the Specialist Subject teacher model at the primary level to strengthen the teaching and learning of English language and mathematics.
“Efforts at pushing STEAM learning will continue to be undermined if secondary-level students are still struggling with reading and comprehension,” she noted.
Additionally, the Minister said under the new National Standards Curriculum (NSC) for the grade one-to-nine levels, which seeks to improve the general academic performance, attitude and behaviour of students, emphasis is being placed on project-based and problem-solving learning, with science, technology, engineering and mathematics/science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEM/STEAM) integrated at all levels.
“We also recognise that if we are to provide our young people with a world-class STEAM education, then our teachers must have access to high-quality training and professional development programmes and resources,” the Minister argued.
She said assessments administered by the Ministry of Education and Youth reveal that many primary-level students are performing below acceptable standards in mathematics and science.
“With the learning loss resulting from the closure of schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a lot of catching up to do,” the Minister explained.
Mrs. Williams said the Ministry is also looking at additional activities, aimed at developing and nurturing STEM talent and interest through immersion in STEM experiences at the primary level to strengthen the efforts already being made.
“If we are to increase STEM enrolment at the tertiary level, we have to be deliberate in cultivating STEM talent and interest at an early stage,” she added.
She pointed out that the recent launch of the Coding in Schools programme is aimed at preparing the nation’s students to take their place in the global community.
“This is being embraced with great enthusiasm and we want to see this sustained,” the Minister said.
Mrs. Williams noted that the Ministry is already implementing, as part of its strategic priorities, the broad embrace of STEAM education, not just as discrete subjects to be taught but to be integrated at all levels.
National Mathematics Coordinator in the Ministry, Dr. Tamika Benjamin, said the Ministry continues to be committed to ensuring that every Jamaican student has a solid foundation in mathematics and science.
She said this will enable them to take hold of the range of opportunities available to them locally and internationally.
The event formed part of the Ministry’s activities for National Mathematics Week 2022. The Week, which ran from March 27 to April 1, was held under the theme, ‘Born to do Maths’.
Contact: Chris Patterson
ROYAL CARIBBEAN GROUP ANNOUNCES GROUND-BREAKING BIOFUEL TESTING, ACCELERATING THE INDUSTRY’S ENERGY TRANSITION
Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex and Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas will be at the forefront of alternative fuel use thanks to extended sustainable biofuel tests this summer in Europe
MIAMI, June 06, 2023 – This summer, Royal Caribbean Group (NYSE: RCL) will set a new industry milestone in alternative fuel use when Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex and Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas, set sail in Europe using sustainable biofuel to meet part of the ships’ fuel needs. The landmark test will contribute critical data and research on the fuel’s capabilities and supply chain infrastructure needed to further the industry’s alternative fuel ambitions.
During the three-month test, Celebrity Apex will depart from the Port of Rotterdam and Symphony of the Seas will depart from the Port of Barcelona, using a biofuel blend that reduces the ships’ carbon emissions. The biofuel blend is produced by purifying renewable raw materials like oils and fats and combining it with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable.
“Biofuels will play an increasingly important role in achieving, not only our own, but the entire maritime sector’s decarbonization goals in the short and medium term. We take great pride in continuing to push our industry forward in exploring innovative fuel solutions that reduce carbon impact and preserve the vibrancy of the oceans we sail,” said Jason Liberty, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group.
The cruise company plans to continue increasing the use of alternative lower carbon fuel to meet the needs of its ships across the fleet. After the trials are completed this summer, Royal Caribbean Group plans to scale up the use of alternative fuels, including biofuels, across upcoming European summer sailings.
“With our sights set on a bright and sustainable future, we are committed to collaboration and innovation to ensure we deliver great vacation experiences, responsibly. With the completion of the trials our hope is to advance our ships’ ability to meaningfully reduce emissions and propel forward strategic partnerships with suppliers and ports to ensure there is sufficient availability of biofuel and infrastructures to make maritime energy transition a reality,” Liberty said.
This key step in Royal Caribbean Group’s pursuit of alternative fuels follows closely after a biofuel trial on its California-based Navigator of the Seas, became the first a cruise ship to sail from a U.S. port while using renewable diesel fuel this past fall.
With a sustainability journey that began over 30 years ago, Royal Caribbean Group has remained steadfast in its commitment to innovate, and advance, the solutions necessary for a better future. Building on a robust portfolio of technologies that improve energy efficiency, water treatment and waste management, trialing biofuels is a step that moves the company closer to achieving Destination Net Zero, its vision for net-zero emissions by 2050. To learn more about Royal Caribbean Group’s sustainability efforts, information is available at www.royalcaribbeangroup.com/sustainability.
Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas
#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.
According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues. Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.
Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”
The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.
CARPHA Observes World No Tobacco Day
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, June 5, 2023 – Tobacco use remains a major public health concern in the Caribbean Region. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. The use of tobacco products in any form harms nearly every organ of the body, irrespective of whether it is smoked, smokeless, or electronic. Of all the forms of tobacco use, most common in the Caribbean region is cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. Using other tobacco products such as cigars or pipes also increases the risk for this disease.
Second-hand smoke exposure causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults; and acute respiratory infections and severe asthma in children. It is a preventable risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which are the leading cause of death, disease and disability among Caribbean people.
This year, World No Tobacco Day focuses on Grow Food, Not Tobacco. This campaign advocates for ending tobacco cultivation and switching to more sustainable crops that improve food security and nutrition. The campaign observed annually on 31 May, also informs the public on the dangers of direct use, and exposure to tobacco.
In the Caribbean Region, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability – 76.8% of the total deaths (non-Latin Caribbean, excluding Haiti) were due to NCDs in 2016. Cardiovascular diseases 30.8% and cancer 17.2% are the leading causes of death due to NCD, both linked to tobacco use. Many of these persons die in the prime of their lives before the age of 70 years old. The prevalence of smokers for overall tobacco products ranged from 57.2% prevalence (95%CI 48.4 to 65.4%) to 16.2% (95%CI 11.2 to 23.0%). According to the Report on Tobacco Control in the Region of the Americas (2018) Caribbean countries have the highest levels of tobacco experimentation before the age of 10.
Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) “Smokeless does not mean harmless. Nicotine in e-cigarettes is a highly addictive drug and can damage children’s developing brains. Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life. Preventing tobacco product use among youth is therefore critical. It is important that we educate children and adolescents about the harms of nicotine and tobacco product use. We must work to prevent future generations from seeing such products as “normal”.”
In 2008, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) endorsed the recommendation to ban smoking in public spaces. Later, in 2012, CARICOM regulated a standard for labelling retail packages of tobacco products with health warnings. Caribbean civil society organisations (CSOs), working in collaboration with local governments and international partners, have led the charge in fighting for significant gains in tobacco control in the Caribbean region.
Dr Heather Armstrong, Head, Chronic Disease and Injury: “At CARPHA, we believe that reducing the harm caused by tobacco use requires a collective approach, where government, civil society, and the individual play a critical role. CARPHA promotes the prevention of tobacco use in all forms and commitment to the WHO FCTC. The focus on tobacco control deals with the youth of the Region. Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.”
The Chronic Diseases and Injury Department of CARPHA provides leadership, strategic direction, coordinates and implements technical cooperation activities directed towards the prevention and control of NCDs in CARPHA Member States. CARPHA’s message for prevention of tobacco product use has spread across its Member States.
In 2018, CARPHA in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Global Health Diplomacy Program at the University of Toronto, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition evaluated the Port of Spain Declaration to learn which mandates helped to prevent and control NCDs. Taxation, smoke-free public places mandate, and mandatory labelling of tobacco products are some of the leading policies making the biggest impact on reduction of tobacco use in the Caribbean regions.
CARPHA urges Member States to work together to prevent and reduce the use of all forms of tobacco products, and scale-up efforts to implement their commitments under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). By doing so, the negative impact of smoking and its consequences on the health of our people, especially the younger generation, and the tremendous burden on the economies of the countries in our Region, will greatly be reduced.
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