August 25, 2016
BITRI joined other key stakeholders in commemorating the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Week that was held in Palapye from 15 – 19 August 2016 under the theme ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Our Future Diamond’. The event attracted pupils and students from Palapye and the catchment areas.
The audience were genuinely interested in the exhibits and BITRI used the Week to enhance awareness of enhanced Morabaraba game, Kgalagadi Sand Building Block/ Brick Technology (KSBB), the Seding® Solar Light and also share the research findings and services of the Climate Change Division.
When delivering the Official Remarks the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Honourable Nonofo Molefhi said science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are key to finding solutions to the problems that the world is currently facing now and in the future.
The Minister said STEM can help address the youth unemployment problem by creating jobs locally. He revealed that the according to the 2015/16 World Economic Forum report Botswana ranked 102 and 109 respectively, for capacity to innovation and for availability of Scientists and Engineers out of 140 countries that were surveyed.
“Since our country’s population is skewed towards the youth, there is need to develop relevant skills to prepare youth in Botswana for employment in requisite professions. Hence STEM education because it is a means of making people creative or innovative and productive,” Minister Molefhi emphasised. He also said that conditions for nurturing an innovative mind-set and facilitating STEM competencies must be established in primary and secondary schools as well as at tertiary institutions.
Minister Molefhi obseving as a pupil plays the Morabaraba game. Watching on is BITRI Researcher Aubrey Mokotedi and ICTAssociate Modise Kemelo
Molefhi said there is evidence that maintenance of a competitive edge in this area requires a lot of investment in human capital development especially at the grassroots. He said countries that are excelling in technology development continue to nurture children and young people’s interest in science and technology.
“Globally, the engagement of children and young people in STI deepens their understanding of Science and Technology in society. SADC member states should therefore be commended for deciding on this initiative of the STI week in 2008,” he added.
Moreover, Minister Molefhi said “There is no special formula for being creative, as such everyone is legitimately an innovator. Youth need to understand that they need to have faith in themselves and their ideas and work very hard towards its achievement and keep being persistent regardless of the opposing forces.”
The objective of the STI Week is to increase public understanding and appreciation of the importance of Science, Technology and Innovation in our daily lives as well as to stimulate interest in science-based subjects at primary and secondary schools levels. STI Week also aims to expose the public to scientific and technological advances and to showcase Research and Development (R&D) products with a view of exposing commercialization potential to entrepreneurs.