Caesar says...
Drastic change of attitude to science, technology necessary

Guyana Chronicle
May 12, 2000

CHIEF Education Officer Ed Caesar has appealed for a drastic change of attituide towards science and technology, especially at the level of adults.

Speaking at the opening of the National Mathematics, Science and Technology Fair 2000, Wednesday, he said older people, particularly parents, should give advice and support the youths instead of ignoring them in the quest.

Mr Caesar disclosed that the Ministry of Education has been allotted a significant amount of funds for such programmes and it is anticipated that much more will be done this year to ensure they are proliferated for the nation's benefit.

But he argued for more funding, submitting that "if we are to develop this country and we recognise education must be the vehicle to cause this development, then there must be additional financing in this area."

He warned, too, that unless students fully utilise the structural facilities available to them, they would not serve the intended purposes.

Caesar's speech was delivered in West Demerara Secondary School, West Bank Demerara, where nursery, primary and secondary schools which emerged at the top of regional competitions showcased their work.

He emphasised that encouragement to the young is one of the critical factors "if we are to do well in the areas of Science, Mathematics and Technology - and enable our country to go forward.

"We, as parents, have got to change some of our attitudes... we've got to change some of our strategies," Caesar stressed.

"We have got to substitute the term `do not' and probably think of terms `how and why'," he advised.

He said it is imperative for parents to encourage children by asking questions and assisting them to be critical thinkers.

"The young man or woman who is never satisfied with what he has done is always willing to try something else, ask questions and to go the extra mile.

"But we impede those people, we stand in their way. Because we are never there to give answers... we turn them back. We don't encourage them.

"We spend too much time destroying their enthusiasm and looking at things that are not relevant rather than encouraging them to go forward," Caesar lectured.

Commending the organisers of the exhibition, he said it has many advantages for both teachers and students, including fostering healthy rivalry in the classroom and pushing scholars to do their best.

"It is when the competition brings about antagonism, that is when we have difficulty," Caesar remarked, while advocating more such contests in the future.

The CEO said, in the process, students inculcate research skills which would be useful when they enter universities or other tertiary institutions.

"Students are encouraged, forced and advised to do research with these fairs.

"In some cases, you cannot hold the students back from doing the research," he noted, saying the occasions afford pupils the opportunity to become more creative in finding new ways of doing things.

"This activity has caused a coming together in a great way between teachers and students.

"Let us continue to encourage our young people to live and work together," the CEO exhorted the audience.

He proposed that, because of students' experiences and enthusiasm, next year's fair should include a language segment and that participants get acknowledgement for their innovations through a recognition system which would further spur them to do better.