Matthews Ridge residents should be proud of Deputy Head Mistress of Matthews Ridge primary school, Mrs Nandia Spencer, who, out of sheer determination, organized and launched a two day robotics seminar targeted to adult club leaders and hundreds of community children. Ms Spencer exhibited fierce community pride and determination when she partnered with STEMGuyana to ensure that children of her community would not be left out of preparation for the technology future which awaits region one, Barima Waini, Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean.
Forward thinking education stakeholders across Guyana are aware that 2/3 of the children they are educating today will work in jobs that do not currently exist. Preparing for those jobs is therefore somewhat difficult but according to the World Economic Forum–2016 report, there is a list of 21st century skills that all youth must have if they are to compete successfully for jobs in the future. These skills include technical skills, creativity, curiosity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, grit, leadership and adaptability skills; and it is these skills which an after-school STEM club program, including robotics, coding, and working on teams to respond to challenges, will develop.
The STEMGuyana program partners with the Department of Youth, the Library program, the Office Of The First Lady, private schools, churches and other civil society groups to bring STEM clubs to communities all across Guyana. The program includes a foundation, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced robotics curriculum which is supported by ten weeks of lesson plans and which culminates in the nation’s first ever National Robotics Challenge which will take place in July 2019.
Mrs Spencer was emotional when she noted the success of the May 18th and 19th two day program hosted at the Matthews Ridge ICT hub. She indicated that she was tempted to reschedule as promised support did not materialize, but she reached out to family members who made the program possible. “I didn’t want my students to wait a minute longer than necessary and as it turns out, they were excited and engaged and learned the technology very quickly, additionally they are all looking forward to club meetings to learn more and to participate in the national challenge, so I am confident that we made the right decision to move forward”, stated Spencer. Ms Spencer is still looking for sponsorship to help with the purchase of a projector and robot kits for the community STEM club.
Four members of STEMGuyana; Master Trainers Aisha Peters, Horace Moseley and Dream Team members Joshua Reece and Yvette Barrow travelled to Matthews Ridge to participate in the region’s first of its kind event. Another robotics program will be launched in Port Kaituma on May 31st while First Lady Sandra Granger will host a robotics training module as part of her ICT Training program schedule for Mabaruma in July 2019.