Science in the Jamaican community: A survey of some aspects of the provisions for training in science

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This study investigated: 1) the provisions for training in science in Jamaica, 2) opinion on their efficacy for employment, 3) the factors which operate for the choice of science, and 4) the opportunities for employment in science fields. Data were collected through questionnaires administered to 658 high school and 291 tertiary level students, as well as interviews with 67 employed persons. Results showed that the high schools, especially the boys' grammar schools, provided basic training in the pure fields, while the applied fields were neglected except in the few technical schools. A male bias to the study of physics and a female bias to that of biology was evident. The teacher training colleges also provided basic training in the pure fields, while the technical colleges provided further training in the applied fields. The university provided 'in-depth' exposure in both pure and applied fields, and provided the only encouragement to research. The teaching and public employment sectors allowed for reasonable technical training, but the overall accent was on administration. In the private sector, arrangements for training were poor. The consensus of opinion was that the training in the formal institutions was too academic and not geared to the needs of employment. The main factors operating for the choice of science were "interest," "personal satisfaction," "applicability to everyday life," and "patriotism." The civil service offered opportunities for the widest range of recruitment levels. Openings were most limited in the private sector. Except in teaching, the "scientist's" function was primarily administrative, with only marginal attention being afforded to research


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