What skills do today’s students need to prepare them to contribute meaningfully to Guyana’s 21st century economy?

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The 21st century will be very much defined by what is referred to as the 4th industrial revolution. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a way of describing the nearly invisible boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It’s a fusion of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies. The 21st century will see a further consolidation (reduction) of jobs which will be transitioned to machines and artificial intelligence.

The development of most industries, even in developing countries will require a different set of job skills from those being taught in most K-12 and university systems today. To contribute meaningfully in the 21st century economy, students must be prepared to learn the core Math, Science and Technology subjects and essential skills like innovation, communication, collaboration, conflict resolution, creativity, –the skills that will enable them to fit in at a workplace and to be able to learn quickly and contribute meaningfully in a rapidly changing work environment.

These skills also include personality, attitude, flexibility, motivation, and manners. These skills are so important that even today, they are often the reason employers decide whether to keep or promote an employee. K-12 school systems today are challenged with the task of educating young people who are often raised in a world of technology–screens, games, colors, videos and daily technology stimulation outside of the classroom.
Many students find traditional education uninspiring, boring, and useless because of the rote learning they must master in order to be successful in any traditional educational system. To build the creative and innovative skills which students will need in the 21st century, schools must not only revisit their traditional curriculum but also how education is delivered. Students must be encouraged to learn using a project-based approach which encourages them to research, analyze and determine solutions in a group setting. Educators must consider integrating lessons for core subjects like Science, Math and English with technology or arts or both to engage students and help them to absorb the subject matter and improve their learning outcomes.

Finally, educators will have to consider using technology to customize education assessment and personal improvement plans for each child–meaning that education, instead of being designed for the group, will have to be designed for the individual student so that at any point in time, each student will always understand their academic strengths and weakness and be in possession of a plan for improvement, rather than having to wait until the end of a school term or assessment period for feedback.


Series on school bullying – The Scourge of bullying in schools

Bullying is a problem that occurs in every country in the world. Bullying has serious consequences for those affected and many different institutions, media and agencies are trying to end this scourge. But what is bullying?
Bullying is the verbal or physical intimidation by one or several classmates to another student in the class. The victim receives continuous harassment of emotional and/or physical abuse and often feels insecure, helpless and alone.
Types of Bullying
As mentioned above, assault can be physical, for example, kicking, shoving or hitting, as well as verbal abuse, threats, discrimination or name calling. But with new technologies bullying is not only present in the classroom, but extends beyond. It is what is known as ‘cyberbullying’. In this case intimidation and harassment occur through digital media. This type of case is more difficult to control since it allows the perpetrator to remain anonymous.
How do you know if your child is a victim of bullying?
Many parents are anxious to know if their children suffer from this problem, unfortunately, out of fear or shame, children do not always tell their parents what is happening.
In the case of parents, they should note if their children are experiencing mood swings, changes in sleep patterns, symptoms such as irritability, restlessness, anxiety or depression, eating disorders, lower academic performance or ask about their relationships at school. If you perceive that there are indications or possibilities that your child is suffering from bullying, the first step is to speak with the teacher immediately, in addition to protecting the child from certain situations. The important thing is to make them feel safe.
Stop bullying in its tracks!
The role of the teacher is also important because it must detect and deal with the situation of harassment in the classroom. To do so, one must be aware of changes in student performance, prevent teasing and insults in class, treat all students equally to avoid jealousy and observe the type of social relationships that exist in case one remains isolated.

Technology Innovations In Agriculture

This week – Indoor Vertical Farming
Innovation is more important in modern agriculture than ever before. The industry as a whole is facing huge challenges, from rising costs of supplies, a shortage of labor, and changes in consumer preferences for transparency and sustainability. There is increasing recognition from agriculture corporations that solutions are needed for these challenges. In the last 10 years, agriculture technology has seen a huge growth in investment, with $6.7 billion invested in the last 5 years and $1.9 billion in the last year alone. Major technology innovations in the space have focused around areas such as indoor vertical farming, automation and robotics, livestock technology, modern greenhouse practices, precision agriculture and artificial intelligence, and blockchain.

Vertical Farming
Indoor vertical farming can increase crop yields, overcome limited land area, and even reduce farming’s impact on the environment by cutting down distance traveled in the supply chain. Indoor vertical farming can be defined as the practice of growing produce stacked one above another in a closed and controlled environment. By using growing shelves mounted vertically, it significantly reduces the amount of land space needed to grow plants compared to traditional farming methods. This type of growing is often associated with city and urban farming because of its ability to thrive in limited space. Vertical farms are unique in that some setups don’t require soil for plants to grow. Most are either hydroponic, where vegetables are grown in a nutrient-dense bowl of water, or aeroponic, where the plant roots are systematically sprayed with water and nutrients. In lieu of natural sunlight, artificial grow lights are used.
Vertical farms use up to 70% less water than traditional farms.

From sustainable urban growth to maximizing crop yield with reduced labor costs, the advantages of indoor vertical farming are apparent. Vertical farming can control variables such as light, humidity, and water to precisely measure year-round, increasing food production with reliable harvests. The reduced water and energy usage optimizes energy conservation — vertical farms use up to 70% less water than traditional farms. Labor is also greatly reduced by using robots to handle harvesting, planting, and logistics, solving the challenge farms face from the current labor shortage in the agriculture industry.

Robin The Robot’s weekly roundup…
All about solar energy
Oh hey Kids! Welcome back! I’m super-duper excited about episode 3 of our “Robin The Robot” show! In this episode, we’ll be tackling Solar Energy! We should all learn a bit about what Solar Energy is, and why it is so very very very important!

Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun that is harnessed using a range of technologies such as solar power to generate electricity, solar thermal energy including solar water heating, and solar architecture. It is an essential source of renewable energy.

Renewable Energy – When we use solar power, we don’t use any of the Earth’s resources like coal or oil. This makes solar power a renewable energy source. Solar power is also clean power that doesn’t generate a lot of pollution.

Solar Power for Electricity- When most of us think of solar power, we think of the solar cells that turn rays of sunshine into electricity. Solar cells are also called photovoltaic cells. The word “photovoltaic” comes from the word “photons”, which are particles that make up sunlight, as well as the word “volts”, which is a measurement of electricity. Today solar cells are commonly used in small handheld devices like calculators and wrist watches. They are becoming more popular for buildings and homes as they become more efficient. One nice thing about solar cells is that they can be placed on the roof of a building or home, not taking up any extra space.

How do solar cells work? Solar cells convert the energy of photons from the sun into electricity. When the photon hits the top of the cell, electrons will be attracted to the surface of the cell. This causes a voltage to form between the top and the bottom layers of the cell. When an electric circuit is formed across the top and the bottom of the cell, current will flow, powering electrical equipment. It takes a lot of solar cells to power a building or a home. In this case, a number of solar cells are connected into a large array of cells that can produce more total energy.

Tune into the Learning Channel every Saturday morning at 9:30am to join Robin The Robot and have fun while you learn. All Robin The Robot episodes can also be found online at www.robintherobot.tv.

Learning Pods Weekly Roundup
STEMGuyana’s Learning Pods program is funded by the IDB, Tullow Oil, the Guyana Diaspora and several public and private donors. The goal of the national program is to work with stakeholders–students, parents, teachers, community representatives, public and private sectors–to build an effective, efficient and scalable model to provide academic support services to students who have been most affected by the COVID pandemic. To date, the program includes Learning Pods in 29 locations across 8 regions of Guyana, soon to be 40 pods across all 10 regions of the country.

Caption – Students at Bayroc Community Center in Linden attend pod classes during the holiday season as they work on closing some of the academic gaps created by school closures due to the COVID pandemic.
Parents are encouraged to register and join the “parent academy” which empowers them with the knowledge required to improve their own Math, English & Science knowledge–which they could then use to help tutor their own children. The Learning pod program also continues its ongoing calls for community volunteers to contribute as little as 2hrs each week to help strengthen literacy and basic numeracy skills in their community’s children. For more information on the Learning Pod program, email stemguyana@gmail.com.


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GTU lays out six-point proposal for advancement of education in a new dispensation

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Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice. ….lobbies for termly allowance for teachers, electricity grant By Svetlana Marshall Noting that the pandemic has further exposed the inequities in the Education Sector, President of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), Mark Lyte, laid out a six-point proposal for the advancement of education in a new dispensation as he addressed […]

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