Govt urged to invest in science community labs
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