Ministry of Education, Guyana

Wednesday, 06 July 2011 11:39

Science, technology critical to realise benefits of LCDS

Science and Technology- Minister Baksh

Education Minister Shaik Baksh has identified science and technology as two vital areas that will help Guyana realise the benefits of the Low Carbon Development Strategy and become a more competitive nation in the 21st century.

Addressing scores of students at the opening of a one day global micro-science experiment workshop at Queen College, Baksh said considerably attention is being placed on attracting students to pursue studies in these areas and a national science coordinator has been appointed to lead the process.

Some of the offers the Education Ministry are looking at to entice students include scholarships to attend the University of Guyana (UG), subsidy for students sitting the sciences at CSEC and special incentives for teachers trained in the sciences and Mathematics.

A non-graduate certificate programme for the sciences-physics, chemistry and biology has already been introduced and teachers who complete the programme receive an increase in remuneration.

He said currently the capacity in the sciences is weak but a National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy along with an action plan has been developed to guide the way forward.

Baksk noted too that though the number of students sitting biology, chemistry and physics at CSEC has been increasing in recent years, much more work needs to be done to encourage students to pursue the single sciences.

In 2006, some 680 candidates sat chemistry. This number increased to 949 in 2010. For biology, the number of candidates in 2006 was 1000, but this figure increased to 1158 in 2010. In physics, 577 took the examinations in 2006, and four years later the number of candidates increased to 666.

At the last CSEC examinations, students recorded a 69 per cent pass Grades One to Three in physics; a 61.8 per cent pass in chemistry and a 70.2 per cent pass in biology.

Over the past four years, the average passes, Grades One to Three in chemistry, physics and biology were 61.4 per cent, 60 per cent and 67.3 per cent respectively.

The Education Ministry is also placing strong emphasis on the development of well resource, state-of-the-art science laboratories in schools. Some $57M has been recently approved for the refurbishment of 10 laboratories and similar work is expected to be done on several others schools, next year.

The workshop aims to sensitise teachers of the use of micro-science kits, a low cost, effective, mini-laboratory tool used to carry out experiments at Grade Seven, Eight and Nine. The kits will be piloted in targeted secondary schools across the country from September.  

The kit promotes a student centred, inquiry based approach to the teaching of science and is widely touted as an effective means to stimulate students’ interest in science at the early grades.

Notably, Tejwattie Girwar, an education officer, in a recent study on the impact of inquiry-based science using the micro-science kits on students’ attainment and attitude, found that the portable min-laboratory can positively influence learners’ attainment.

The study which was part fulfillment of her master’s degree in education also recommended that the kit be used in schools.

The workshop was organised by the Education Ministry with support from UG and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

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