Ministry of Education, Guyana

Monday, 27 April 2015 00:00

Science and Technology’s importance for sustainable development underscored – at UNESCO’s sub-regional workshop

Guyana is ranked 55 among 143 countries in the area of Science and Technology and from 1 to 7, the country is ranked 4.3, in the World Economic Forum Report for 2015.

This was revealed today, during a two-day sub-regional workshop on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Micro-science Experiments Project. The workshop began today at the Grand Coastal Hotel and is the brain-child of Guyana’s Secretary-General of UNESCO Inge Nathoo, who felt that it should be shared by all Caribbean countries.
Robert Paruna of the UNESCO office for the Caribbean observed that with 2015 as the most important year for the United Nations, and with the Millennium Development Goals deadline imminent, a new set of goals must be established, and these should be the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs would see Science and Technology becoming a key part to be adopted by governments. This would be crucial, he noted, since the SDGs would be emphasising science and technology as the social pillar. The future of the plan depends on the ability to handle science and technology.

Paruna recognised the necessity of science and the move to put science towards building socio economic development. He noted that one of the key recommendations made by UNESCO was towards science for sustainable development, bio diversity and climate change. The workshop was organised after the meeting of eminent scientists of the Caribbean in collaboration with the Prime Minister of Grenada who currently chairs the Science Committee of CARICOM.

Paruna observed that a key recommendation of the committee was to prioritise science education at the primary and secondary levels. He noted that the PM of Grenada would become the key spokesperson on strengthening and supporting science and technology within the region. The other recommendation of the meeting, he noted, was to find funding for the study of science, and it emphasised that Caribbean countries use 1% of their GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to support the funding of science, technology and innovation. The Grenadian PM hopes to carry forward the recommendations at the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting.

The UNESCO Global Science Report of 2010 called for major science policy mobilisation at the national and international levels. A report released on technology this week, Paruna stated, identified ten pillars for the Caribbean, and included Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica. Of these ten pillars, the fifth, he pointed out talks about skills and technology which can be found in secondary education.

robert parunaParuna also noted that micro science kits which have been piloted and tested over a 30- year period are cost effective. He explained that they are being used for experiments in over 80 countries. The kits were originally designed for poor African countries and many developed countries are now asking for them, Paruna stated. He expressed pleasure that Caribbean countries are now asking for them.

University students are using them, and have now adopted micro science, and in the Caribbean, it is the key to ensuring the successful implementation of micro science. It will also help to improve science curricula for a better understanding and increase the number of young people to promote capacity building and promote best practices.

The two pilot countries are Guyana and Jamaica. Whilst Jamaica has not, Guyana has fully embraced it and government’s commitment has led to success. The key points were the dedication and commitment from the Ministry of Education. Paruna commended Guyana for being the first country having a national policy which emphasises the importance of science education.

Caroline Aguste of St. Lucia expressed her appreciation that Guyana had invited St. Lucia to participate in the workshop. She noted too that the Ministry of Education would need the results of the workshop in order to teach students micro-science.

Dr. Rudolph Anthony, Belize’s Secretary General for UNESCO pushed for the exposure of young people to science to ensure that it will be maintained. He noted that with Guyana chosen in 2011 to be a pilot country, he urged that all should work together in unity.

Dr. Arnoldo Ventura in commending UNECSO for uniting with Guyana urged that more be contributed to this country to enable it to move forward.

Participants of the workshop came from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Belize.

The workshop covered several topics including the challenges and roles of science and education in the Caribbean. It also focused on science at the primary and secondary levels. Tomorrow’s topics will include experiments at the secondary level and a visit to St. Stanislaus College.

Source: GINA

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