Dissatisfied with the interest shown by Barbadians about the benefits to be derived from science and technology, the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST), in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Commerce, has embarked on a community innovation project to sensitise Barbadians about its importance.

Director, Lennox Chandler, recently disclosed that a consultant had been contracted by the department “to go out into communities across Barbados with other NCST officials to explain the differences between innovation and invention”. He will also speak to residents about the importance of science and technology to the country’s development.

Mr. Chandler said he hoped the initiative would “stir up the creative juices in people and spur on innovation”.  He said: “The idea is to go into communities and to make them aware of what innovation is. We will also give them the basic instructions on how to be innovative. You can teach people to be innovative, however, everybody cannot be an inventor.

“So, we will teach and train people how to be innovative so that they can pass on their knowledge to others in the society,” Mr. Chandler said.   

The NCST Director also said he hoped the programme would change the perception that innovation was based only on academic qualifications. “People living in communities need to understand that the ideas which they have can be used to come up with innovative things. Even though a person may not hold a graduate or undergraduate degree in a particular discipline, their ideas can still be utilised to help solve some of the island’s problems,” he opined.

To create a passion for science and technology in schools, Mr. Chandler said more needed to be done to help maintain the students’ interest in science and technology. “Some students are abandoning science subjects in school because they believe that they cannot get rich quickly by being a scientist. There are lots of roles for science and technology to play in this country but, unfortunately, not enough attention is being paid to them at this point of time.”

Noting that most trained scientists had entered the teaching service, the official stressed there was a need to create new areas of opportunities for scientists to practise their craft.

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