Westwood High Wins 2021 Scotiabank/Junior Achievement Innovation Challenge

“Let’s use the resources that we have” - Students

Kingston, Jamaica – May 28, 2021 - Though technology has become more integral in accessing educational resources for Jamaican students, a group from the Westwood High School are calling on stakeholders to maximize the use of existing and commonly-found resources. This as the country works to secure additional devices such as tablets and laptops for students.

Hailing from the Trelawny-based institution, the students were awarded top prize for their idea which was presented at the 6th annual Scotiabank National Innovation Camp 2021 coordinated by Junior Achievement Jamaica (JAJ).

They proposed that the use of Compact Disc (CD) and Digital Video Disc (DVD) with detailed information and recorded lessons can be used to address the current gap for students living in remote areas of the country who may not have reliable access to the internet or the necessary internet-enabled devices. “While they wait to receive their tablets or the internet connectivity, students with a desktop computers or DVD players can have access to their lessons,” the team posited.

With reports that up to 25 percent of students having not participated in any remote learning activities since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the students were asked to propose an innovative technology solution that would help students at the primary and secondary level without devices, data access and lack of parental support to excel in upcoming transitional examinations.

During the competition, which was hosted online, high school students from ten (10) schools, presented their ideas based on the 2021 challenge theme.

“It’s really a great accomplishment and it feels really good that we won,” said Akili Hall, one of five students from Westwood High School, following the announcement of the winners.

Runner-ups in the competition were St. Jago High School, and Morant Bay High School who placed second and third respectively. The other participating schools included St. Hugh's High, Wycliffe High, Port Antonio High, Maggotty High, Merlene Ottey High, Convent of Mercy Academy ‘Alpha’, and Hampton High School for Girls.

Audrey Tugwell-Henry, President and CEO of Scotiabank, expressed congratulations to the winning team and all the participants. She encouraged the students to step outside of their comfort zones, to be resolute and determined and face challenges with fortitude.

“Today’s demonstration indicated the willingness of both teachers and students, not to languish but to move ahead. When you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things, to be innovative and adapt, you have the ability to learn new things, and opportunities for advancement,” Tugwell-Henry said.

Alphie Mullings-Aiken, Executive Board Member for Junior Achievement said the annual National Innovation Camp provides an opportunity to gain insight and ideas from Jamaica’s youngest and most promising minds about how they see the future.

“We are grateful for Scotiabank’s continued investment in Junior Achievement which seeks to unearth the talents and promote innovativeness in our youth,” Mullings-Aiken said.

The Scotiabank Road to Success Program is a partnership between Scotiabank and JA Americas. It involves working with the local Scotiabank and Junior Achievement offices in approximately 13 countries in the region.

The programme is done in three parts, including The JA Economics for Success Programme, a six- hour training facilitated across two days on Zoom; The Innovation Camp and the Regional Innovation Challenge, where the top teams from each country will compete in early September.

Students from all competing schools were also exposed to the Scotiabank’s ‘Road to Success’ Financial Literacy Programme -aimed at raising awareness among youth about the importance of managing their finances, and to have clear professional goals, interests and values.