The principles that apply to the Sciences offered by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) are not separate and apart from that which governs the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge. In light of this fact, Assistant Chief Education Officer (Secondary), Ms. Doodmattie Singh, disclosed that CXC is prepared to accept projects undertaken by students intended for the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge as their School Based Assessments (SBAs). However, Singh informed that while these entries can be submitted dually, they will only be accepted if they satisfy the necessary requirements outlined by either entity. “Students sitting the Sciences at the CSEC level will be able to use their Sagicor Visionaries Challenge projects as School Based Assessments once these projects satisfy the requirements and vice versa,” said Singh as she pointed out that, “we must note that knowledge and skills gained in one can be very beneficial in the other.”
The Sagicor Visionaries Challenge is a competition that is intended to target secondary level schools as well as home schooled students between the ages of 11 and 16 who are encouraged to identify a challenge facing their respective school or school of choice. Having identified the challenge, students are tasked with using science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to develop effective, innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenge identified.
The Sagicor Visionaries Challenge was first introduced in 2012 with Guyana participating in 2013, allowing Zeeburg Secondary School to present the winning national project – a solution to a shrimp drying situation on the East Bank of Essequibo.
According to Singh, who on Wednesday was among the speakers at the launch of the 2014 leg of the Challenge here, it has long been established by the partners facilitating the Challenge, that through greater community involvement “we can live more sustainably and build a better future to create more sustainable communities.”
But realising sustainable communities, according to Singh, is dependent on greater local knowledge “of our limited resources and the impact of climate change on our food, health, energy and water security.”
Moreover, she pointed out that innovations in science and technology are recognised among the key factors to play a critical role in overcoming existing challenges. “Therefore, the call of the day is for all our secondary students to get on board flight Sagicor Visionaries Challenge 2014,” Singh appealed.
The Challenge, according to her, has seen entities the likes of the Caribbean Science Foundation and the Trinidad based Sagicor Life Inc championing STEM as fun, functional and facilitating innovation. According to the Assistant Chief Education Officer, “the creative application of knowledge and the demonstration of innovation, civic responsibility and problem solving are critical elements of any school curriculum.” Moreover, Singh emphasised the need for teachers “to forge these elements among students.”
It was for this reason, she said that over the years CXC, the key examining body of the Caribbean School system, has worked tirelessly to ensure that students exiting secondary schools measure up to what is known in the Caribbean as the ‘Caribbean ideal person.’
And ‘the Caribbean ideal person’, according to Singh, is able to identify Challenges facing them and have the will to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges identified.
Moreover, syllabuses were developed and revised, new subjects were offered, with the newest set; the Green Engineering syllabus, to be introduced shortly. Added to this, teachers have been trained and School Based Assessments were introduced.
As a result, Singh noted that since the aim of the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge has a mandate that is identical to that of CXC, the body has been only too committed to be involved in the Challenge.
The Sagicor Visionaries Challenge which is set to be kicked off in September is expected to be conducted in eight territories including: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.