Orane Family Boosts STEM Education in Jamaica with JMD $3M BOOST Fellowship

Orane Family Boosts STEM Education in Jamaica with JMD $3M BOOST Fellowship

(From left) Michele Orane (wife), Douglas Orane, Brinn Elliott (cousin), Jason Lindsay (Inaugural Elisha and Winnifred Ebanks BOOST Fellow) and Marguerite Orane (Sister).

In a landmark move for The University of the West Indies’ Building Out Our STEM Teachers (BOOST) Programme, the Orane family has stepped forward to champion STEM education by committing to fund a BOOST Fellow at a cost of approximately J$3 million over three years.  This generous donation marks the Programme’s first example of family philanthropy, and it sets a precedent for other notable families to follow suit and invest in the future of STEM education in Jamaica.

Led by retired businessman and engineer Douglas Orane, the Orane family's commitment to the BOOST Fellowship exemplifies its dedication to advancing STEM education. Named after Douglas' late grandfather and aunt, Elisha and Winnifred Ebanks, both distinguished educators at Kingston Technical High School, the fellowship honours their legacy of excellence in teaching.

The inaugural Elisha and Winnifred Ebanks BOOST Fellow is Jason Lindsay, a UWI science graduate specialising in Physics education. Lindsay was selected for his dedication to STEM education. Since September 2023, he has been playing a key role, teaching Chemistry and Physics at St. Andrew Technical High School, demonstrating a strong commitment to shaping Jamaica’s future through education. Jason shared, "The BOOST programme has provided a wonderful avenue for me as a young educator to give my all with the support it gives. I am so happy I got the opportunity to work at the St. Andrew Technical High School to hone my craft as an ardent educator, and to make a positive difference in the lives of many students.".

Douglas Orane praised Jason's dedication to shaping Jamaica's future and urged others to follow suit in supporting STEM education. He emphasized, "Our family is encouraging other Jamaicans to honour their loved ones by creating similar named Fellowships. What a wonderful way to simultaneously achieve multiple goals – support underserved students, develop young teachers’ careers, and create a legacy to remember Jamaicans who helped build our society".

Dr. André Coy, Associate Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology, The UWI, emphasised the importance of partnerships in the programme’s success: "Partnerships are the cornerstone of the BOOST programme, bolstering our efforts to inspire and empower graduates as they embark on their journey to ignite passion and curiosity in high school classrooms.".

The BOOST Programme is a novel scholarship scheme designed by the UWI to address the shortage of STEM teachers in secondary schools while nurturing the careers of young STEM professionals. A collaborative effort between The UWI Mona’s Faculty of Science and Technology and Faculty of Humanities and Education, BOOST aims to enhance STEM education in Jamaica by providing a yearly stream of quality science and mathematics teachers through an innovative ‘back-end’ incentivised scholarship programme. Tertiary graduates who become BOOST Fellows are assigned to teach in schools with STEM needs across the country. In addition to their salary, for each year worked (up to three years), BOOST refunds one  year of their University tuition through its ‘back-end scholarship’. Additional incentives are also paid yearly to the Fellows based on their performance. The National Baking Company Foundation took the lead as the inaugural and primary donor, committing J$159.6 million over six years to kickstart the Programme.

Since its launch in 2021, BOOST has deployed 41 University graduates with science degrees to teach in 33 schools across 8 Jamaican parishes, impacting approximately 16,000 students. The programme has had a high retention rate with more than 80% of Cohorts 1 and 2 choosing to remain with the programme and in the classroom beyond their initial year.

The programmes phenomenal success and breadth of impact can be attributed to the support of its partners, including, the National Baking Company Foundation – its main partner – as well as the National Commercial Bank Foundation, Ministry of Education and Youth, Digicel Foundation, The Mico University College, Jamaica Teaching Council, National Education Inspectorate, and American Friends of Jamaica, Chemical and Medical Scientific Solutions and now the Orane Family.