Mochudi — The main purpose of Science, Technology and Innovation week is to demystify the disciplines, says Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology Mr Ngaka Ngaka.
Speaking during the official opening of the week, he said this was done by promoting public understanding and awareness as well as facilitating meaningful participation by those interested in the disciplines.
He said throughout the week, learners from different schools would be hosted.
Minister Ngaka said the journey in realising dividends of investment in research and innovation started with enhancing scientific literacy of young people by involving them in science and technology activities and inspire them to become innovators.
He said science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers facilitated the resolution of complex problems of today's world and the future.
Mr Ngaka implored the youth to have confidence in themselves and pursue their dreams so that they can become innovators as everyone had the innate capacity of being an innovator.
Explaining that the STI week was part of the month-long events planned for the celebration of the disciplines, said the events were inspired by Vision 2036 which envisions achieving prosperity for all.
He further stated that the first pillar of the vision identified the use of STI as a way of propelling economic efficiency to attain sustainable economic development.
Minister Ngaka said the theme "Science, Technology, and Innovation: Future of our Nation," speaks to the importance of harnessing STI for the benefit of the nation.
He added that it was not the number of events carried out but rather commitment to action as the future depended on what was being done today.
The SADC Senior Programme Officer, Education and Skills Development, Ms Lomthandazo Mavimbela said in 2008 the organisation's ministers responsible for STI directed the secretariat to develop a plan to launch the week in an effort to promote development in the region.
She said among the recommendations made were enhancing public understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, create an enabling policy framework and develop youth into science strategies and promoting ICT as an engine for economic growth.
Ms Mavimbela further said the SADC Heads of State approved the STI Protocol in 2008 with the overall objective of fostering cooperation and promoting the development, transfer and mastery of science, technology and innovation in member states.
She said Article 4 of the protocol under Areas of Cooperation called for the "Promotion of Public understanding of STI by launching programmes to demystify science, technology and innovation.
She said there was need to continue to develop programmes to engage communities and the youth on the importance of STI and its application to daily livelihoods.
Ms Mavimbela said school and institutions of higher learning were encouraged to work together to implement programmes in STEM in the form of camps and competitions during school holidays to keep the youth engaged and to create a culture of innovation and interest in STI.
"As policy makers we need to continue to make strong linkages and relevance of STI to economic development and growth, poverty alleviation and job creation which are key priorities I many governments".
Speaking at the event, Professor David Sebudubudu of the University of Botswana said the institution had been given the task of planning and organising the STI week.
Professor Sebudubudu said the week's events included among others exhibitions of scientific innovations, hands on activities, panel discussions, lectures and workshops.
He said 155 students were expected to take part in the activities and would be engaged in events showcasing the intersection of science in their daily lives.
Professor Sebudubudu said the plan was to capture their minds and keep them captivated so that they understood that STI could bring solutions to some daily problems and challenges.
The university, he said, believed that all students could do well in science.
Giving a vote of thanks, Mochudi West MP Mr Gilbert Mangole said STI played an important role in the lives of people.
The week, he said, would accord students an opportunity to learn and pick the career of their choice among the engineering and technology careers.
Mr Mangole encouraged them to read, learn and fall in love with STI.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>