KINGSTON, Jamaica – Over 80 primary and secondary level students were exposed to skills in robotics, engineering, and coding at a free five-day camp, which ended on Friday, August 19.
The Junior Creators Robotics Camp, organised by Supreme Ventures Foundation in partnership with Halls of Learning, was being staged for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Participating students, including children in State care, hailed from Independence City Primary and Waterford Primary in St Catherine, and St Andrew High School for Girls and Wolmer’s Boys School in Kingston, among others.
Minister of Education and Youth, Fayal Williams, who addressed the award and closing ceremony, held at Ardenne High School in Kingston, commended the organisers of the camp.
“Activities of this kind are complementary to the Ministry’s efforts to link STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] activities with Jamaica’s National Development Plan: Vision 2030. In today’s knowledge-based economy, creativity and innovation must be essential tools in the intellectual toolbox of our students,” Williams noted.
She welcomed the focus on engineering, saying that “education in this area is crucial because students will learn how to integrate scientific principles to create products and processes that contribute to economic growth.”
In his remarks, Executive Chairman of Supreme Ventures Limited, Gary Peart, said the camp was conceptualised to expose students to STEM in a “creative environment that indulges their imaginations.”
Students were encouraged to embrace respect for each other and work in teams, as part of their soft skills development.
“It was important to conduct the sessions in a team setting to build collaboration and to develop soft skills to complement the technical skills that they would be taught,” Peart said.
Thirteen-year-old Nathanael Pengelley, from Wolmer’s Boys School, stated that participating in the camp was an important step towards achieving his career goal.
“I’ve always had an interest [in this field because] I actually want to become an engineer in robotics. I just really love to create things [and] I know my dream might be big, but I actually want to be able to create a car one day,” he said.
Fifteen-year-old Cordelle Evans, a previous beneficiary of the camp, who participated as an instructor this year, said his experience was helpful to his studies.
“I got to learn new skills and I use them in my daily life activities such as my information technology studies,” he said.
He said he became an instructor because “I remembered how much fun I had.”