The 2017 National Science Fair will see a shake-up in the way the competition is run.
So said Amaalah Muhammad, education officer for Science in the Ministry of Education, last Friday at the awards ceremony for the 2016 VINLEC National Science Fair.
Muhammad explained that organizers have realized the difficulty of housing over 500 projects at the Methodist Church Hall.
âSo, for 2017, we would not be having a National Science Fair. We would be going toward the zonal level, where schools would have their own internal science fairs, submit projects to zonal fairs, from which projects would then be selected for the National Fair,â the education officer explained.
She explained that this new format would allow for broader participation at the school level, allow for parents to view their childrenâs projects at the zonal level and for persons to get a chance to improve their projects before they get to the national fair.
Muhammad stated that the 2016 fair was one with many records.
âIt was the fair with the most projects and the most students. By the close of registration, we had a record of 345 projects registered and these were submitted by 537 paricipants, representing a total of 33 educational institutions.â
Muhammad noted that while there were 16 categories in which students could enter their projects, students favoured the engineering and physics categories.
She noted that the judges were impressed with this yearâs project submissions and were especially pleased with the primary schoolsâ participants for knowing their projects so well.
âCompared to previous years the projects were very original. Students gave a lot of thought to projects and they really tried to investigate different ways of solving projects,â she said.
Also speaking last Friday, Juanita Hunte-King, president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Science Teachers Association (STA), thanked VINLEC for supporting the fair for another year.
Hunte-King noted that the STA took an active role in this yearâs science fair, with their involvement beginning in the class-room and ending with judging the competition.
Communications officer at VINLEC Tamara Job-Sprott noted that while they are deemed a sponsor, they see their involvement more as an investment in the future.
She explained that while their industry is based on engineering, they are supported by technology and depend heavily on technology.
âSo, for us, science and technology are critical in our business and we recognize that it is important to national development.â
Senior education officer with responsibility for the Curriculum Aldia Gumbs-Dyer also addressed the awards ceremony.
The 2016 Vinlec National Science Fair was held under the theme âScientific and Technological Literacy Empowering the Vincentian Society in the 21st centuryâ.