An all-girl team is representing Guyana at this year’s First Global Robotics Challenge (FGC) in Singapore. This is significant as this highlights the important role that girls are playing in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in Guyana.
In today’s globalised world, the fact that our girls are excelling in this area is momentous; as much of the future job growth will be in STEM.
As we have said in a previous editorial, the success of the STEM Guyana team over the years is an example of what our young people could achieve once they are provided with the necessary opportunities. Years of success of the team have now led to the expansion of the programme across Guyana as was announced by President Dr Irfaan Ali some time ago.
The way the Guyana team has performed over the years has shown what can be done once persons are able to band together and more importantly, represent their country well at such a high-level competition.
The success of Guyana’s team over the past four years is a perfect example of Guyanese ingenuity and creativity. It shows that in spite of the many challenges at home and the sometimes-negative perceptions persons usually have of Guyanese, our young people can still rise to the challenge and be counted among some of the leaders in the various fields. For Guyana, over the years, to compete against over 180 countries, which have much experience in the field, is a tremendous achievement and has served as a motivation to others who have an interest in the so-called STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Certainly, the investments made over the years in improving performances in STEM subjects are beginning to show results.
The importance of focusing on STEM education could never be overemphasised due to their importance to national development. Our leaders, from both past and current administrations, have recognised the need to create more opportunities for our young people to further their studies in STEM subjects.
Every student who has a desire to further their studies in STEM subjects should be afforded the opportunity to do so. We feel that once the necessary facilities are provided, such as labs etc, more young people will be drawn to these areas of study.
Additionally, more students should be encouraged to focus on STEM subjects to advance their chances in the job market. This is necessary as it will help them to become innovative. It will also help them to be equipped with the necessary skills to contribute to national development. Some persons see STEM as “hard subjects”. When one looks at the number of students graduating from the university, it is evident that more students are gravitating to the social sciences. However, if this trend continues, we would continue to see graduates coming out of the university for whom the job market would be severely limited.
While there is need for qualified persons in the arts and humanities and other fields, there is also a need for experts in science and technology; hence, more attention should be provided to encourage children who are gifted in science and technology to explore their passions. In essence, considering the national needs of the country, STEM is seen as sustainable. If students undertake STEM subjects, they can be assured of job opportunities, not only here in Guyana, but in many other countries.
The excellent performance of the STEM Guyana team over the years should be celebrated and like the previous years we support the team as they complete in Singapore this October.