UWI and National Commercial Bank Foundation partner to increase Teachers in Digital Studies

(L-R) Dean for Faculty of Science and Technology, The UWI Mona, Prof Michael Taylor, lecturer at the School of Education, The UWI Mona, Dr. Sharon Bramwell-Lalor, and Resource Mobilization Coordinator for the Faculty of Science and Technology at The UWI Mona, Mrs. Elecia Myers, all witness the signing of the BOOST Scholarship partnership by Deputy Principal of The UWI Mona, Prof. Ian Boxill (left), and CEO of the N.C.B Foundation, Nadeen Matthews-Blair.

The University of the West Indies Mona has signed an Agreement with the National Commercial Bank Foundation (NCBF) to increase the number of STEM teachers in Jamaica focused on Digital Studies via the Build Out Our Stem Teachers (BOOST) Programme.

The Agreement was signed on July 28, 2022 in the Principal’s Conference Room on The UWI Mona Campus.

BOOST is a “back-end incentivized scholarship scheme” developed to respond to the urgent need for more quality STEM teachers in Jamaica’s classrooms. This urgent need was highlighted by the 2017-2018 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, which ranked Jamaica at 73rd out of 137 countries in terms of the quality of science and math education. The need for a mechanism to replace STEM teachers has also been the subject of recent public discourse. The Agreement signed between the National Commercial Bank Foundation and The UWI Mona therefore demonstrates an important and timely partnership between academia and the private sector.

Spearheading the Programme is a team led by the Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, Professor Michael Taylor who stated that The National Commercial Bank Foundation’s partnership is a demonstration of much needed collaboration amongst a multiplicity of partners, as opposed to competition. The University of the West Indies is happy to have NCBF as the newest member of the BOOST family.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Deputy Principal of the UWI Mona, Professor Ian Boxill said The UWI is pleased to continue the relationship with the National Commercial Bank Foundation. “This partnership will strengthen the bond between both institutions and prove to be beneficial to Jamaica,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer of The National Commercial Bank Foundation, Mrs. Nadeen Matthews-Blair, said the NCBF is pleased to partner with the BOOST programme to grow the digital talent pipeline in Jamaica as a part of accelerating the country's digital transformation. This is possible by multiplying the number of educators. The BOOST programme will assist with carving out this niche while providing a platform for the National Commercial Bank Foundation Scholars to give back.

Also expressing her gratitude for the recent agreement was Dr. Sharon Bramwell-Lalor, Lecturer, School of Education, who stated that “The demand for STEM professionals is linked to the demand for STEM teachers. The School of Education is therefore delighted to welcome the National Commercial Bank Foundation to the partnership. The partnership is a ‘win-win’.”

BOOST was conceptualized in the Faculty of Science and Technology and designed in collaboration with the Faculty of Humanities and Education. It is made possible by its funder and main partner, the National Baking Company Foundation. Invaluable support is also being provided by other partners, The Ministry of Education and Youth, Mico University College, Digicel Foundation, Jamaica Teaching Council, National Education Inspectorate, American Friends of Jamaica and now the National Commercial Bank Foundation.