Micro-science kits to promote the sciences in schools

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The Education Ministry has sourced Micro-science kits in order to promote science subjects in schools, in order to sustain the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) in the long-term.

This is according to Education Minister Shaik Baksh, who in his address at the opening ceremony of a Micro-Science Workshop for Secondary School teachers funded by UNESCO last Wednesday, pointed out that the number of science graduates in Guyana is relatively low at the CSEC level and at the University of Guyana. Of the total number of students writing the CSEC exams only 10% write Biology, 8% Chemistry and 5% Physics.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) report, the Micro-science kits will allow teachers and students to easily and successfully carry out a wide range of basic science experiments in biology, physics and chemistry and are cost effective and safe.

In 2011, $57M was spent to refurbish 10 labs and next year more work will be done. Over the years the ministry has been engaged in activities to increase the number of students in the single sciences. One of these ventures is the Science Education Unit which was initiated three years ago. Since the Unit was launched, numerous workshops have been held countrywide for teachers. However, one of the major constraints is the number of qualified teachers; of the 110 secondary schools in the country, single sciences are only being taught in 50% of the schools.

Baksh said that ministry hopes to be able to teach the single science subjects in all secondary schools. “We have prepared our teachers. We have to attract more students to go in the science stream and I want to tell you… that we will give priority basis for you to go to Cyril Potter College of Education to do science subjects,” he said.

In September 29, science teachers will be graduating from the Undergraduate Teachers Training Programme, and the ministry will continue to train teachers in the Non-Graduate Training Programme, the minister said. He also noted that the ministry will be pilot testing the micro science kits and the method in order to develop teachers’ manuals and students’ workbooks after which an evaluation will be done.

The workshop was facilitated by Professor Alex Pokrovsky, who demonstrated how the micro science kits work. Participants had the opportunity to see the kits being used along with the accompanying teaching and learning materials.

Professor of Physics at the University of Guyana Lloyd Kunar commended the ministry for paving the way for better scientific development. He said the kit is a very small one but there are many experiments that one can do using it and at a relatively low cost.

GINA said the Global Micro-science programme was launched by UNESCO and the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) in 1996 and thus far has been introduced in over 80 countries. The kits are to be used to promote practical science experimentation using Micro-science as an advocacy tool against policy makers, improve science curricula by inclusion of hands-on experimentation for a better understanding of science; to boost young people’s interest in science in order to promote gender equality, scientific literacy and the choice of a scientific career and to promote capacity building for science education and enhance development of scientific thinking and experimentation for pupils.

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