Dr Bisnauth urges making science fun
--at Yapollo opening

Stabroek News
October 28, 1999

Minister of Education, Dr Dale Bisnauth, in recalling a childhood science teacher who got hold of a dead chicken and helped the students remove the intestines and pickle them in formaldehyde, said that above all science must be fun as he opened an interactive science exhibition at State House yesterday.

The exhibition called 'Yapollo' the Amerindian word for 'to discover' was envisaged and built by the National Institute of Higher Education Research and Technology (NIHERST) in Trinidad and Tobago and is on a six-country tour of the Caribbean.

It is open to the public especially school children from October 27, to 31, from 10 am-7 pm and features a series of 72 exhibits that demonstrate basic principles of physics such as relative motion, effects of gears and pulleys and conservation of momentum.

Dr Bisnauth went on to say that in contrast to his exciting biology lessons, on a recent visit to a school in Region Six, he saw pupils preparing for Common Entrance science subjects "inundated by tons and tons of notes. Science is made such a bore! such a drudge!" Dr Bisnauth noted that it was not solely the lack of facilities that made science so unappealing but rather an education system that was purely certificate-oriented; what we learned was purely by accident. Dr Bisnauth urged science teachers to capture a child's curiosity to set them on a path of discovery. He pledged to find the resources to set up a national exhibition similar to Yapollo which could inspire more children into the science sector.

Adviser to the President on Science, Technology and the Environment, Navin Chandarpal, said that any successful development of the economy was dependent upon the application of technology to business and that the best brains of the country must come together to enhance the nation's production and productivity. In addition, there must be emphasis in the schools to improve all levels of science education as this would directly affect the number of scientists, technicians and engineers we produced. He asked the Caribbean Examinations Council to allow for creative work in assessing students as a way to attract students to the sciences.

Assistant Registrar of NIHERST, Joycelyn Lee Young, said that scientific literacy should be present at all levels of society and not just for the elite. She called on CARICOM governments to embrace the concept of a "scientific ethos that encouraged individual technological innovation" as science and technology played key roles in wealth building and the well-being of developing nations.

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