The success of the STEM Guyana Team over the years is yet another example of what our young people could achieve once they are provided with the necessary opportunities. The years of success of the team has now led to the expansion of the programme across Guyana, as was announced by President Dr Irfaan Ali in August 2022.
The way the Guyana team has performed over the years has shown what can be done once people are able to band together; and, more importantly, represent their country well at such a high-level competition.
The success of Guyana’s team during 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 people usually have of Guyanese, our young people can still rise to the challenge and be counted among some of the leaders in various fields. For Guyana to compete against more than 160 countries over the years, although those countries have much experience in the field, is a tremendous achievement, and has served as 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 overemphasized, due to its importance to national development. Our leaders from both the 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 the desire to pursue further 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 would be drawn to these areas of study.
Additionally, more students should be encouraged to focus on STEM subjects in order to advance their chances in the job market. This is necessary, as it would help them to become innovative, and also help them to be equipped with the necessary skills to contribute to national development. Some people 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 a 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 passion. 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.
We support the call by the team for Government support, and commend President Dr Irfaan Ali for listening to the youths and committing to expanding the programme countrywide; and for his pledge, “We will support you.”