Students from 30 of the islands nursery, primary and secondary schools were exposed to the joys of science during the Science and Technology Festival held at the University of West Indies Cave Hill campus.
During the inaugural event hosted by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology and the UWI, students explored the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). There were over ten booths from organisations such as the Caribbean Examination Council, Environmental Protection Department, Barbados Sea Turtle Project, the Barbados Community College and more. The students were reminded that science was not only fun but also reaped numerous benefits for their families and the country.
Acting Director of the National Council for Science and Technology, Charles Cyrus told Barbados TODAY he was pleased with enthusiasm from students and contended that interest in STEM was very much alive in the education system.
“I can see the enthusiasm of the students as they interact with the exhibitors and there is a genuine interest in what they are doing and what they are viewing,” said Cyrus.
He also argued that the future of the developing countries was reliant on STEM research and innovations and indicated that Barbadian entrepreneurs and the youth were leading the way.
“All countries moving from developing level status have focused on building their science, technology and innovation capacity. It has been demonstrated globally that science, technology and innovation are integral to social and economic progress so there shouldn’t be an exception to Barbados. We have a moral obligation to promote science and technology because of the benefits we can derive from it, whether it is agriculture or manufacturing,” said Cyrus.
“There is no question about the importance of science going forward . . . We need to build our capacity in science and technology so that we can contribute not only as takers and users of technology but also as creators of technology,” he added.
Meanwhile, exhibitor Kemar Codrington of the Oasis Laboratory suggested that scientists in Barbados were unappreciated. The graduate of the UWI Cave Hill Science and Technology Faculty charged that developments in science and technology had the ability to improve life for citizens and the economy of the country.
“The scientists here in Barbados and the Caribbean are very undervalued . . . when science and technology are on the frontier of development. We have a lot of ideas here and we need to tap into them. Sargassum is a regional issue and who is going to fix it? Not the lawyer, a scientist,” he stressed. (KK)