Public urged to participate in National Science Fair
October 7, 2016
Public urged to participate in National Science Fair

The organizers of the VINLEC National Science and Technology Fair are this year making a special appeal to post-secondary students and the general public to participate in this year’s proceedings.

The event was launched last Wednesday, October 5 at the Ministry of Education Curriculum Development Unit, under the theme ‘Scientific and Technological Literacy: Empowering the Vincentian society in the 21st Century’.{{more}}

Amaala Muhammad, coordinator of the event and Education Officer (Science), said that although she was pleasantly surprised by the increase in the number of students taking part last year, she was disappointed that there were only two entries in the open category and no participation whatsoever in the post-secondary category.

“The reason why I’m disappointed is not just because we didn’t have entries. This is where some of the hardcore science is done. These are the persons who will be going on to university; that’s the next step… pursuing careers in science,” explained Muhammad.

“We want to see what they think, what skills they have, what ideas they have in terms of the problems we are grappling with. We do hope that this year, we will see more participation at this level.”

She pointed out that there are several issues facing our society that science-minded persons could explore in the hopes of coming up with a solution. These include agricultural and environmental issues, among others.

Also delivering remarks was Tamara Job-Sprott, communications officer at VINLEC, who explained that VINLEC does not regard its involvement in the event as sponsorship, but rather as an investment.

“For us, it is an investment in the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines… We are encouraging all our citizens to participate… Science and technology is not only relevant to students, but to everybody.”

She added: “We are very passionate about science because that is our business; that’s how we are able to function well.”

The communications officer also encouraged more persons to venture into the fields of agricultural science, food science, education and learning; and she also encouraged participation from more schools.

“There were a number of schools that were dominant in the fair. This year, we really want to encourage schools from all across St Vincent and the Grenadines… Don’t allow the popular schools that we know to dominate the fair.”

In her remarks, Juanita Hunte-King, president of the SVG Science Teachers Association, said that she was impressed with the calibre of students who took part in last year’s science fair, noting that if they are an indicator of things to come, SVG’s science future will be “bright”.

“Last year’s fair was also excellent in terms of the volume of entries from a wide variety of our schools,” said Hunte-King.

She did, however, lament that very few projects showed originality.

“Most projects presented an already existing scientific concept with very little advancement on the concept or deviation from the original. This year, I would like to encourage our participants to push the envelope and begin inventing, innovating and improving,” she urged.

Senior education officer (Curriculum Development Unit) Aldia Gumbs-Dyer noted that the world is “becoming increasingly scientific and technological,” which makes an impact on our personal, social, economic and political lives.

“The life-changing potential of science and technology, however, cannot be realized unless everyone acquires basic scientific knowledge, skills and attitude. Our future economic prosperity and our ability to become an innovative nation depends, to a large extent, on a scientifically and technologically literate society.”

She also expressed gratitude to VINLEC, teachers, students and their parents.

“Let us all collaborate to prepare a generation of learners, empowered to thrive and lead in the 21st century.”

There were also brief remarks from Lenski Adams, Physics teacher, and Chad Greaves, Biology and Integrated Science teacher (both from the Girls’ High School), who reflected on last year’s event; and also Orpen Keil, public relations officer of the SVG Science Teachers Association, who gave a brief background of the event.

The National Science and Technology Fair will take place from November 14 – 18 at the Girl Guides Headquarters, 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. However, it will only be open to the public on November 17 and 18. (JSV)