Govt urged to in­vest in sci­ence com­mu­nity labs

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Leonard Ncube Vic­to­ria Falls Re­porter

THE Govern­ment has been urged to in­vest in com­mu­nity lab­o­ra­to­ries to en­sure de­vel­op­ment through sci­ence ed­u­ca­tion.

The call was made by re­searchers from in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing in Canada, Kenya, South Africa, Su­dan, United States and Zim­babwe who met in Vic­to­ria Falls for the 7th in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence on Ap­pro­pri­ate Tech­nol­ogy’ (AT) which ended last Fri­day.

The Na­tional Univer­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (Nust) is host­ing the con­fer­ence which was or­gan­ised by Prac­ti­cal Ac­tion, a re­search or­gan­i­sa­tion in South­ern Africa for pur­poses of adding a re­search di­men­sion to the teach­ing of Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Math­e­mat­ics (STEM) in learn­ing in­sti­tu­tions.

Prac­ti­cal Ac­tion di­rec­tor Mr Kudzai Marovanidze said ap­pro­pri­ate tech­nol­ogy should be taken as a ba­sic right as it is key to de­vel­op­ment.

“It’s im­por­tant for fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties to ac­cess nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion on how to use tech­nol­ogy. Ap­pro­pri­ate Tech­nol­ogy is key to faster and greater reach and im­pact as it is more bot­tom-up and in­clu­sive, hence it’s key to com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment and should be taken as a ba­sic right,” said Mr Marovanidze in a key­note ad­dress.

He called for con­certed ef­forts be­tween Govern­ment and stake­hold­ers to­wards im­ple­men­ta­tion of STEM pro­grammes for pos­i­tive re­sults.

“This is a chal­lenge we want to put across to pol­icy mak­ers in Govern­ment. We need joint ef­forts and to work to­gether with com­mu­ni­ties to achieve SDGs. Govern­ment should ca­pac­i­tate com­mu­ni­ties to em­brace ap­pro­pri­ate tech­nol­ogy and this should start with com­ing up with com­mu­nity learn­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries,” Mr Marovanidze said.

He be­moaned the ex­is­tence of some bar­ri­ers such as in­ad­e­quate tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties, lack of skills and ca­pac­ity, in­abil­ity of peo­ple liv­ing in poverty to take risks and mar­ket fail­ures.

Mr Marovanidze said peo­ple from poor com­mu­ni­ties were in most cases ex­cluded from re­search and tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes.

Vic­to­ria Falls deputy Mayor Coun­cil­lor Nor­ris Ny­athi said ca­pac­i­tat­ing learn­ing in­sti­tu­tions and com­mu­ni­ties is key to de­vel­op­ment.

Stu­dents from Nust and Bu­l­awayo Polytech­nic as well as pupils from some Bu­l­awayo schools and Ce­cil John Rhodes School from Gweru show­cased sus­tain­able projects that they are do­ing at their schools.

The theme for the con­fer­ence was “Sus­tain­able Tech­nolo­gies to Em­power Com­mu­ni­ties — Bridg­ing The­ory with Prac­tice.” — @ncubeleon

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