Bequia Principal keen on students seeing value in STEM and Skills training
PETRUS GUMBS, director of STEMSVG and students of the Bequia Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School
April 16, 2024

Bequia Principal keen on students seeing value in STEM and Skills training

Principal of the Bequia Community High School (BCHS), Nicole Glynn, is concerned that her students are not taking advantage of the opportunities and skills training provided by the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics(STEM) programme .

“I don’t think they are taking full use of it and those who are, they are seeing the value of it because when they speak to you, you actually hear them talking about what they learnt and so on and what it helps them with.”

The school offers Integrated Science, Biology and Physics; there is currently no Chemistry teacher.

In Integrated Science, students’ top notch performance was pleasing in Biology however, Physics is a challenge and last year, no student wrote the subject at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) level. In 2022, two students who wrote the subject were successful but this year no student will be writing the subject at CSEC.

“That is because Physics was not offered to this year’s class,” Glynn explained. “When students were choosing their subject options, the teacher was on long leave and we had no back up, so this class going forward did not have that option.”

Forms 3 and 4, however, are doing Physics “and they seem to enjoy it so we are expecting that when they hit form 5, we will see students going forward for Physics next school year.”

Since the school has an absence of a Chemistry teacher, STEM has filled that void offering students classes online, study options, assessments, as well as lab assistance.

“So it has been an added value to the students in terms of the Chemistry,” Glynn said, adding that “they offer classes for subjects we do not offer as well, so students have the opportunity to do Chemistry with them.”

Her hope is for students to open their eyes to the opportunities being offered to them.

“I think each child should have at least one science behind them, in the same way each of them should have at least one business subject.”

The principal told SEARCHLIGHT that along with what STEM offers, “we do cater for skills here, so that they can have more opportunities when they leave here for a job”.

Under the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) the school offers among other subjects, Technical Drawing and Food and Nutrition in forms 1 to 5; while Clothing and Textiles are offered to students in forms 1 to 3.

This year, the school is rolling out two new NVQ offerings in Building and Technology and Food and Beverage which will be a first for third formers.

Glynn, who has 25 years teaching experience, also wants to see more students doing the NVQ subjects as well.

“I don’t think they see the full value of having a skill because even if you work within a general work place, you can have a skill as a back up…there are some persons who basically have problems learning the normal way but they are good with their hands.”

It is felt that the disinterest by students in these areas of training could stem from the home.

“Parents are the ones sometimes who push students to not go into the skill aspect, even though they may be more suited towards it…parents need to realise that the skill is important and it can make a difference in a child’s life going forward,” Glynn said.

An estimated 90 students are currently enrolled in the STEM programme. Around 50 of them are from the Bequia Community High School with the remainder being students of the Bequia Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School.

The STEM programme is being supported by the Koven Family Foundation, and the Community Foundation for SVG.

Koven Family Foundation through its ‘Grenadine Initiative’, aims to design and fund a variety of critical programmes in SVG, with emphasis on the Grenadines.

The Community Foundation for SVG through their ‘Action Bequia’ initiative, whose focus is on infrastructure and the environment, has been working closely with the Koven Family Foundation on a number of programmes for the Grenadine Islands.