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Celebrating the Future

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Science is all around; a part of each person’s everyday life. But for most people, science is perceived as the tedious study of complicated facts, especially when it comes to science education introduced in a formal setting.

In our educational system, and due to oversized curricula among many other complications, information is usually delivered as is; teachers do not necessarily encourage students to think and be curious. Using scientific thinking on the other hand involves children in the process of finding out. To foster scientific thinking, educators need to view young children as active learners and give them varied opportunities to explore and experiment.

Children are natural born scientists. They are curious by nature and have inquisitive minds; they want to know how things work and why the world functions as it does. Studies have shown that children think scientifically, making predictions, carrying out mini-experiments, reaching conclusions and revising their initial hypotheses in light of new evidence. Exposing children to the wonders of science from an early age will help develop their minds and increase their logic and reasoning skills.

The future of humankind depends on knowledge; but our ability to generate new knowledge and use it innovatively depends on having a scientifically literate population. Approaching 9 billion people on a planet that is already being exploited beyond its limits, science and technology can help in addressing the challenges we face today; from finding a cure for fatal diseases, reducing hunger and poverty, to protecting the environment and the planet.

Learning science is indeed of a great importance in any educational system. This importance is even more significant in a country like Egypt, especially in such a period of new hopes and increased general understanding. The role of science is now more evident than ever in building the economy, providing jobs, and narrowing the gap between Egypt and other developed and developing societies.

The Advent of Science Communication

Science communication makes science accessible and exciting to young people and non-scientists. One of its main purposes is to engage children and youth in science so that science becomes a part of their formation; they are thereby offered the opportunity to experience the joy and excitement of science.

Science centers are a major venue of science communication; they give science a presence in the community and offer people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to ask questions, discuss and explore.

“To promote science and technology among school students and the public at large, and to show their relevance to everyday life” is the mission the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center (PSC); a center that fosters the values of science through a variety of interactive exhibits and exhibitions, and a diversity of hands-on activities and other tools.

Generating a new generation of innovative thinkers and scientists is one of the main goals of the PSC. The Center thus organizes programs and events, such as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Science and Engineering Fair (BASEF), annually. It brings together students from Alexandria and neighboring governorates to train, research, innovate and compete. Winning projects get to participate in an annual International Fair in the USA.

For science to play the role required in the modern, technological and challenging world, support is essential. The public must be aware of the strategic importance of investment in science and technology. To that end, we have to encourage talented young scientists actively, get the public interacting with, and support them.

Credits: Banner Image/Freepik

The original article was published in PSC Newsletter, Spring 2012 issue.

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