SCANT REGARD FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

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A government official is less than pleased with the interest shown by Barbadians in the benefits to be derived from science and technology.

Director of the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Lennox Chandler, says he is unhappy about the apparent lack of interest.

He argued that despite his department’s efforts to popularise science and technology as an important feature in the island’s development, the task was made even harder by the negative attitudes displayed.

“This is not an easy task in a country where science and technology holds no pride or place and is not considered important from the lowest to the highest level,”  Mr. Chandler made this observation while delivering the feature address at the NCST schools’ science and lecture series and debating competition yesterday at the Grand Salle, Tom Adams Financial Centre, Bridgetown.

The NCST head said he was disappointed by some of the responses given by the public when the department carried out a perception survey on science and technology last year.

In light of this, he challenged Barbadians to educate themselves about the subject.
“We really need to inform Barbadians about science and technology. In a country which prides itself of a literacy rate of over 97 percent, we are not doing too well with respect to science and technology.

“Some Barbadians have failed to see science and technology as part of our culture.  While drama, music and art are part of our way of life, science must also be seen as part of our culture as well. Unfortunately, no real effort has been made to promote it as such,” he observed.

Pointing to the importance of science and technology, Mr. Chandler said one needed to have some basic knowledge of issues such as genetically modified foods, genetic engineering and stem cells research in order to have an appreciation for the subject matter, and later to make informed choices based on fact and not on emotion.

The NCST’s Senior Technical Officer, Arlene Weekes, said the school’s fifth debating programme and lecture series was designed to broaden the students’ knowledge about science and technology. 

“Programmes such as this one, helps to augment the materials taught in the island’s schools and to expand the students’ knowledge base.  Science and technology is inextricably linked to our development; the sooner we recognise this the better it will be for all concerned,” she stressed.

Students from Combermere and the Deighton Griffith Schools debated each other on the topic: The recent heavy rainfall and resulting flooding episodes are a direct result of climate change.  

The preliminaries continue today and, Thursday, December 11, at the Grand Salle beginning at 10:00 a.m each day.

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