BIUST to bring Science and Technology Circus
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
The Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) is pushing the technology envelope further by inviting Africa Science Circus to bring its science and technology exhibition to Botswana. This exhibition which is intended for students, teachers and the community at large will be on tour in Botswana for three weeks from the 21st of May to 5th June 2015.
Speaking during a media briefing ahead of the Science Circus Africa tour, BIUST’s Dr. Haniso Motlhabane said the intended circus was in line with the government policy of bringing technology to the people of Botswana, irrespective of where they are. “The Botswana National Policy on Research, Science, Technology and Innovation of 2011 commits to empowering the populace to participate and contributes in wealth creation through investment in technology, research and innovation,” said Motlhabane.
In addition to the above government commitment, Motlhabane said the Revised National Policy on Education (1994) highlights as one of the overall objectives of Botswana national education, “to emphasise science and technology in the education system.” The policy further recommends that; ‘intensified measures to popularise science among students and to develop an interest and positive attitude towards science and technology should be developed through science and maths fairs and other competitive activities, special awards, the establishment of a science and technology park and so forth.”
According to the proponents of the upcoming circus, Africa Science Circus aims to make Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fun, intriguing and accessible to students, teachers and the community. “As part of the efforts to direct a process of strengthening Mathematics and science student pipeline leading to BIUST and the general tertiary education landscape, the pre-University Accademic Programmes is in collaborating with Australian National University (ANU)’s Centre for Public Awareness of Science in dealing with a longstanding mathematics and science performance problem in pre-tertiary education in Botswana.
“The relationship leverages on the experience and successes of Centre for Public Awareness in Science which have been pioneered international Science Centre icons such as the Questacon in Australia. Through this collaborative relationship, workshops for mathematics and since teachers and trainers sponsored by BIUST and CPA will be held intermittently between 21 May and 5 June in Gaborone, Palapye and Francistown. The thrust will be on the use of low cost teaching aids,” added Dr. Motlhabane.
Botswana has recognised the critical importance of science and technology as engines that drive economic transformation as a way of diversifying the national economy from a resource based to a knowledge based. BIUST was established as a vehicle for science and technology development through research and technology transfer. “A strong mathematics and science student base is therefore critical if science and technology should be embraced as drivers of the national economy.”