Region Four STEAM fair opens… Dr Charles urges students to begin conversation on achieving sustainable society

The 2018 Region Four Biennial Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Fair opened yesterday at the Diamond Secondary school. Despite some heavy shower of rain, it did little to deter the hundreds of students representing nursery, primary and secondary schools in turning out.

Covent Garden Secondary with their invention.

The two day fair which is expected to attract some 47 schools are being competed over 23 categories. Being held under the theme, ‘Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics paving the way for a green and sustainable society’, it is being organized and executed by the Department of Education Region Four in collaboration with the Regional Democratic Council Region Four (RDC# 4).

Coordinator of the Fair, Mr. Loren Park said that the fair is being used as a platform to showcase their skills and abilities noting that the fair provides an opportunity for a collective future with a shared destiny. H said that the STEAM fair is one that can be deemed as being exciting and inspiring urging all to prepare themselves for the challenges. He added that he hopes all would have an enjoyable fair while declaring that they the participants should study very hard thus gaining good grades so that they can positively contribute to the holistic development of a green society.

Regional Education Officer ag Ms. Tiffany Favourite Harvey in her message stressed the importance of the students being exposed to various projects. She said, “Over the next two days we will be exposed to projects with a STEAM focus and thus we will agree that great emphases will be placed on creativity, object based learning as a way of encouraging research, observation and critical analyses.”

While the Regional Executive Officer, Ms. Pauline Lucas encouraged the students to use the opportunities being created through STEAM to enhance and further develop their education. She told the many students gathered that her administration is excited to be a part of the fair which she said is a gateway to many careers and opportunities.

Meanwhile, Senior Lecturer at the University of Guyana Dr. Elroy Charles giving the feature address, in his presentation urged students to begin what he termed as ‘conversation’, noting that this will help in advancing the initiative of STEAM. He told those gathered that they should become cognisant of the developmental package that goes along with sustainable development adding that they can enjoy the benefits of energy.

“By 2030, Guyana’s Vision is for an inclusive, green and prosperous State as the fundamental guide for the GSDS. Which incidentally, for majority of you, you will be young adults in your twenties and pursuing, if not, completed your studies at tertiary institutions,” he said.

Dr Charles noted that the framework proposes specific strategic areas within each theme on which the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) should focus. “This talk is not about GSDS but to you students and your involvement in the green and sustainable society. It is you who are the stewards and brains that will have to manage Guyana assets for our future development,” he stressed.

Diamond Secondary School invention of mosquito repellent from Lemon grass.

He urged students that there are several ways in which they can get involved. He told them that talking about their learning process is critically important, noting that it begins with the conversation. “Every single student is part of the conversation, conversation leads to deep conceptual understanding, students are motivated to participate and feeling like they have a stake in the conversation, conversation is not just for good talkers; everyone has a right and responsibility to contribute and the teacher role is to guide students in practicing new ways of talking, reasoning, and collaborating with one another,” Dr Charles told them.

“It’s important and imperative that we look at ways to have conversations as that is a start to creating the green and sustainable development that we speak about,” Dr. Charles said. He pointed out that Guyana has a number of opportunities noting that unfortunately it is not explored or exploited in a much bigger way.

“Too many times we look for traditional markets for our products and not looking for international cooperation in trade and investment. However, STEAM is expected to create that culture as we look South-South and in that I mean, South America and Latin America,” Dr. Charles said.

Dr. Charles expressed the view that Guyana possesses three adaptable advantages, which he urged the students to pursue in their quest to advance their skills and knowledge in STEAM. He pointed out that Guyana’s Natural history and biodiversity is one of the greatest in America’s and the region. This, he stressed is evident noting that there is no other English speaking country in the hemisphere with such benefits. He noted that Resource Rich is yet another adaptable advantage, declaring that while we possess a wide range of great and rich resources, unfortunately, we do not have the cadre of scientists needed to tap into it. “We have gold, diamond, forestry and now oil so we have a rich avenue of resources that we can tap into. Further, we have cultural diversity, which is prominently resident in Guyana,” he said.

The University of Guyana Senior Lecturer further noted that the third adaptable advantage that is resident in Guyana has to do with Ecosystems services noting that we have a wide range if these. He urged that the students can only begin to explored and exploit these once they begin the conversations as this is the platform needed to better understanding and knowing more about STEAM related matters. “Carbon sink (19.5GtCO2eq), Bird tourism, ecotourism, agri-tourism, research, culture, fresh water” he said.

He added, “I implore and urge you students to[ see the many golden and evident opportunities that such a fair presents to you. It is only by beginning the conversations that you can begin to truly benefit and enjoy the many opportunities that STEAM will offer you,” he reiterated.

Dr. Charles warned the students that many of them would still be young adults who he said would have the mantle of moving the society forward. It is in this context that he reminded them that beginning now the conversation, which he reiterated is critically important in ensuring that they are ready for such a task.

In declaring how STEAM works, the University of Guyana Senior Lecturer said, “Measures to conserve natural resources are more likely to succeed if local communities/you are given ownership of them, share the benefits, and are involved in decisions”.

He further added, “Even today’s technology and knowledge once adapted can reduce considerably the human impact on ecosystems”.

The fair concludes tomorrow and despite being hard pressed to return the overall title that they won in 2016 Diamond Secondary are determined to keep the title at home as they have submitted the highest number of projects in eleven with Hope Secondary submitting six. President’s College and Annandale Primary would seek to improve on their second and third place respectively that they secured in 2016.

Banana Pancakes made by Clonbrook Primary.

Clonbrok Primary School student explaining to one of the judges their school’s invention of foods from Banana.


Lancaster Secondary Schools showcasing their Celery invention of which they showcased the many juices and other benefits of Celery.