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Team Leader for the popularisation of science and technology, at the Scientific Research Council (SRC), Doreen Dietrich, is calling on students, educators and other stakeholders, to appreciate the value of science and technology to national development.
Speaking at a recent Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Science and Technology Exposition in Mandeville, Manchester, Mrs. Dietrich said the country was lagging behind developed countries, because not enough emphasis is being placed on science and technology.
“It has been proven, because we see in developed countries, a very strong focus on science and technology. We have been lagging behind for many reasons, the main reason being a lack of resources, and also because many of our private sector companies are not yet on board to support us. I’m sure they will eventually, because everybody is seeing the need for science and technology,” she said.
Mrs. Dietrich informed that over 400 schools have established Science and Technology Societies or Science Clubs, which not only assist in educating students to the various career options in this field, but also cause them to do well, both in internal and external examinations, earning places in top tertiary institutions.
“We have seen that students who are involved do very well in their exams and get placed in tertiary institutions and also in getting good careers. So it is a good thing,” she said.
She pointed out that the more students are involved in the practical aspects of science and technology, and the earlier the exposure begins, the more likely it would be that they would develop an interest in, and an understanding of this critical subject matter. In addition, she said that involvement in activities, such as the Science and Technology Exposition, would assist students in getting scholarships to tertiary institutions, both locally and abroad. For this reason, she said school administrators should make greater effort to facilitate this thrust.
“We are still struggling, because some school administrators are not doing their part, and although the science teachers are willing to come on board, they are not given the time to come and participate. I’ve always told administrators that when schools get involved in the practical side of science and technology, it does a whole lot for them than just the theoretical part,” Mrs. Dietrich said.
The winners in this expo were: Kilsyth Primary School from Clarendon and Christiana High School from Manchester in the Grade 4-6 and 7-9 categories, respectively. Decarteret College, in Manchester, won in the Grade 10-11 and Grade 12 to tertiary level segments, for projects demonstrating an electrical car, which is self-charging, and the use of algae to absorb excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
This year, the staging of the annual exposition is being held under the theme: ‘Science & Technology: Energy, Environment and Enterprise’.
Other regional expositions will take place in Kingston on March 12 and Montego Bay, St. James, on April 2. Winners in specific categories will compete in the national finals on April 30.