Minister tasks schools to emphasise sciences, ICT

Friday December 06 2019
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Concern. Science and Technology minister Elioda Tumwesigye during a fundraising at Karera Seed Secondary School in Sheema Municipality on Monday. PHOTO BY FELIX AINEBYONA

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, has asked teachers to embrace technology and sciences as a way of promoting development.
Dr Tumwesigye said technology is the foundation upon which countries in Asia, Europe and America developed.

“We think that Uganda should develop like other developed countries in Europe but we cannot have that if we do not embrace technology and encourage our children to study science subjects,” he said.
The minister said because of lack of skills, many youth are running to the Middle East to do menial jobs.

“Youth should stop going to the Middle East where they are treated as slaves. That is why we want to encourage students to study sciences. Nowadays world over, people no longer use chalk to teach; it is us who are still lagging behind. We want people to leave villages and we teach them computer skills,” Dr Tumwesigye said.
He was speaking at Karera Seed Secondary School in Sheema Municipality during fundraising to build a science and computer laboratory on Monday.

The officer-in-charge of advancement and outreach in the ministry of Science and Technology, Dr Nicholas Kwarija, said they are currently promoting science, technology and mathematics countrywide in primary and secondary schools.
This, he said, is intended to interest young people into loving the disciplines.
“This is one of the National Development Plan interventions geared towards improving human capital for science, technology and innovation, which is one of the fundamentals for achieving Uganda Vision 2040,” Dr Kwarija said.

He added: “We are doing this by conducting science fairs, competitions, career guidance, equipping science laboratories and supporting the implementation of the compulsory science policy.”
Prof Alex Ariho, the chief executive officer of African Agribusiness Incubators Network, an innovation hub, said if students do not embrace science and technology, there is a likelihood that African countries will not have veterinary officers and agricultural officers in the near future.

“We carried out a research in 2018 in 17 African countries and found out that students, who join university to study agriculture and veterinary medicine, have declined by 10 per cent. This means that African countries, which have been boasting of agriculture as the backbone of their economies, are likely to suffer in the near future,” he said.
Prof Ariho faulted African governments for not doing enough to interest young people in such courses.
“The findings also indicate there are limited incentives to veterinary officers and agricultural officers so the children find it not interesting to graduate with a degree in agriculture,” he said.

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RISING CASES
Prof Mary Okwakol, the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) chairperson, noted while releasing the 2018 Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) results in March that fewer people opt for science disciplines at A-Level and hardly pass them to continue with science related programmes in institutions of higher learning.
The Uneb executive secretary, Mr Dan Odongo, said 30.4 per cent of the candidates, who sat UACE opted for Mathematics, showing a slight increase in candidature in the subject while the numbers reduced in Physics from 13.8 per cent in 2017 to 10.5 per cent last year, Chemistry registered 15.4 per cent and Biology 13.3per cent.

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