Principal at Tarrant High introduces robotics and animation

With the growing belief that emerging opportunities in technology will dominate career choices in the future, Tarrant High School in Kingston is positioning its students to take advantage of jobs in areas such as robotics, programming and animation.

According to the Principal, Paul Hall, who has been at the helm of the school for the past two years, the institution is already creating a name for itself in the area of robotics.

“I started the robotics club a year ago, and we entered the [Redspring Robotics] competition with some other schools last school year, and we came third. In fact, we were the only non-traditional high school in that,” Hall said.

“So, we are on board with robotics and animation.  The thing now is we are trying to get our students to sit animation and design gaming,” he adds.

“I want to open their minds to this kind of technology, and that is why we are exposing them,  because we don’t want them to be left behind”

— Paul Hall, Prinicpal, Tarrant High

Mr. Hall points out that one student sat the examination last year in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and passed, while another student who took the examination the previous year obtained the second-highest mark in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

“So, what we’re doing now is starting with the lower school (grades 7-9). We are building them out… with the robotics and the animation, because we are creating a future for students,” the Principal says.

“We’re…starting with the lower school (grades 7-9)…because we are creating a future for students”

— Paul Hall, Prinicpal, Tarrant High

In addition, he shared that the school also plans to set up a technology room, which will be equipped with the latest technological gadgets, including robots and drones, so as to expose students to the latest in technology.

A humanoid robot that utilises artificial intelligence to perform tasks normally carried out only by humans

“Digital marketing, robotics and programming… these are emerging career choices. So, I want to open their minds to this kind of technology, and that is why we are exposing them,  because we don’t want them to be left behind,” the Principal adds.

In the meantime, Mr. Hall, the 2018 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education, says the school continues to expose students to new and existing skills that will enable them to make a living.

“I am hoping that other high schools will look into offering it too because it certainly is a good skill area”

— Paul Hall, Prinicpal, Tarrant High

One such area, he says, is motorcycle repairs and assembly, which he had introduced for the first time in a Jamaican high school, at Norman Manley High in Kingston, where he served as Vice-Principal.

The course, which was similarly introduced by him at Tarrant, is being offered through the City and Guilds examination.

“There are a lot of motorcycles all over Jamaica, they will be able to repair them and earn while they go back to school,”

“I am hoping that other high schools will look into offering it too because it certainly is a good skill area,” the Principal says.

“I can speak about some of the youngsters who graduated from the programme at Norman Manley High. They can always set up a little workshop at the back of their house, and because there are a lot of motorcycles all over Jamaica, they will be able to repair them and earn while they go back to school,” he said.

Other skill-based courses that are offered include mixology, plumbing, construction and cosmetology.