Secondary Schools in Dominica are being encouraged to participate in the 2015 Sagicor Visionaries Challenge.
The 2015 edition of the challenge was launched on Friday morning at the Fort Young Hotel.
Education Minister Petter Saint Jean said at the launch that the challenge offers students the opportunity to explore and learn valuable, new and exciting processes that will help to develop their appreciation for incredible examples of invention.
“The activity, as it has become known, is concerned with creating a supportive environment and developing skills in you the students which will prepare you to face what we the adults consider a challenging world,” he stated.
According to Saint Jean, it is commendable for Sagicor to be partnering with the CSF and the CXC to provide young people of Dominica the opportunities to explore avenues, “to release your creative energy and to sharpen your skills in areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.”
“This challenge will assist you the young people of Dominica, it will assist in empowering you to become active participants who will launch our country, our nation, into the next decade and beyond,” he noted.
Saint Jean said the Ministry of Education if fully on board with the view that Sagicor postulates through the initiative.
“STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has been and continues to be the focus of our schools curriculum, our focus on mathematics and science…the Ministry of Education continues to promote the concept of STEM,” he said.
He mentioned also that the Ministry of Education believe that creativity and innovation must characterize every one of Dominica’s schools.
“We share the view within the Ministry of Education that STEM education is critical in developing you, critical thinkers, increase science, maths and technology literacy and enable and inspire you the next generation of innovators,” Saint Jean noted.
He urged teachers to employ creative methods of instruction in guiding the students as in construction of their projects.
“Let us always as teachers seek to provide our students with a dynamic classroom experience that will make teaching and learning much more effective and rewarding,” he remarked.
General Manager of Sagicor Life Inc, Cheryl Rolle said other islands have already started with their projects; however due to the passage of Tropical Storm Erika Sagicor felt it was prudent to push the event forward to give students a chance to recuperate from the storm.
According to her, as technology continues to change by the minute, “we must arm ourselves with the knowledge to keep up.”
Rolle encouraged all secondary schools on the island to compete in this year’s challenge.
Sagicor Visionaries Challenge 2014 winner, Jeaselle Blaize, 16, represented the Saint Martin’s Secondary School (SMSS) at last year’s challenge.
The fifth former won a seven-day all expense paid trip to Tampa, Florida and said the experience was very “interesting” and “exciting.”
“I found out more about the different science techniques and also the different ways in which we could develop our country,” she explained. “Also I learned to build robots using lego blocks…”
Blaize created a project called, “Techno Gardener” to secure the winning spot in the challenge.
Last year about 16 secondary schools participated in the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge, with 41 projects submitted initially.