Sci-Tech Hiatus

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The popular Sci-Tech Expo, which has been a staple in the diet of thousands of school students bi-annually since 1998, may not be staged in 2012.

Director of the National Council for Science and Technology, (NCST) Lennox Chandler, made this disclosure today during the press launch of the expo.?? It was held at the Barbados Concorde Experience, Grantley Adams International Airport, Christ Church.

Emphasising that the expo was not a "money making affair," Mr. Chandler explained that it was mounted as a public service to the people of Barbados. "The expo is about the education of our youth and [other members of the] public.?? It also serves to propel the development of a fledgling science and technology culture among Barbadians," he stressed.

The NCST head said in the face of budget cuts, limited public sector assistance and a crippling economic recession, the department had to come up with "novel ways to secure funding to get the expo off the ground".

Given this situation, Mr. Chandler intimated that the time had come for a comprehensive overhaul of the exhibition. "If we come to a point where we have to beg people to come to the Sci-Tech Expo, then, we are not doing something right.?? So, we have to review it [Sci-Tech] and come up with an exhibition that is new and exciting for Barbadians," he acknowledged.

Mr. Chandler further stated: "I want to encourage the primary and secondary school students to come out and view the expo because it will not be staged in 2012."

Even though some Barbadians were aware of the importance of science and technology to the island’s development, the NCST head lamented that some were still oblivious to its benefits.

"I am still a disillusioned man, especially when I note that after years of trying, the level of ambivalence to science should be much higher when compared to 1998."

Mr. Chandler also dispelled the notion that an investment in science was time-consuming and costly. "I believe that we have to create our own cadre of scientists who are in tune with the needs of our society.?? Therefore, scientific advice must, where ever possible, be generated from within Barbados.?? In essence, the island’s natural scientists must play a greater role in the development and decision-making [process] in the island."

Special Projects Coordinator with the Barbados Manufacturers Association, Shelly-Ann Austin-Taylor and the General Manager of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, Lars Soderstrom, also spoke about their commitment to, and partnering with the NCST to realise the development of science and technology.

The Sci-Tech Expo was conceptualised as a vehicle to popularise science and technology in Barbados.?? jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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