A person who knows and is aware that he knows, is wise, follow him; A person who knows but is not aware that he knows, remind him; A person who doesn't know and is aware that he doesn't know, teach him; A person who doesn't know and pretends to know, is fool, leave him

Bless me in my undertakings Dear God, grant me victory and I shall shout your blessings for all to hear of your power!

Monday, June 28, 2010

`Students avoid science subjects`

28th June 2010
Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Prof Peter Msolla

Increased loan burden in tertiary education and low salaries have been cited as among the major factors causing students to lose interest in science subjects.
In a speech read on his behalf by the director of Science and Technology, Prof Evelyn Mbede, at the launch of St John’s University of Tanzania Science Society at the weekend, the Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Prof Peter Msolla, said experience has shown that the students were not interested in science subjects because of stringent conditions imposed on loans, which they had to repay after they were employed.
Prof Msolla said something had to be done to encourage the students to study science subjects.
He noted that the loan burden discouraged the youths from studying science subjects and opted instead for arts subjects whose loan burden was lower.
He said poor salaries also contributed in one way or another to make the youths lose interest in science subjects.
The minister mentioned other factors as lack of learning facilities like labs, well trained teachers, textbooks and increasing workload.
He said Tanzania, like many other countries in the world appreciated the importance of science, technology and innovation in increasing the country’s competitiveness in the fast globalising world.
The minister said Tanzania put a special emphasis on strengthening and promoting its national innovation system as a means of spearheading the national development agenda.
Co-ordinator of the SJUT-SS Ephraim Kalumanga said the society focused on opening minds, encouraging and supporting Tanzanian students especially in primary and secondary schools to opt for science subjects.
He said they also planned to construct a building, which would be known as the Science Society Centre, which would comprise a laboratory to serve mainly secondary schools lacking laboratories by allowing them to perform practical works there.
“The centre will also help science teachers to gain skills and knowledge, which will help them to improve their profession,” he said.
He added that the Science Society would be a centre where scientists would meet to discuss issues related to the country’s development.

 My Take
It may not be true that students avoid science subjects because of the loan budern, rather it is true that many of the students fear science subjects because they may not pass the exam if they opt those subjects. There are no science teachers in schools. Many of them are moving to other high paying industries. There are so many teachers who are employed in banks nowdays. Also there are no learnig support tools for science; such as laboratories, text books and the likes. It is also true that the science curriculum in Tanzania does not allow students to grow slowly from one stage to another. Right from primary school you are learning things that you will encouter or learn at the secondary school. In addition to that, teachers are still using the traditional teaching approaches in which a teacher is more knowledgeable than students. Teachers collaboration in Teachers design teams is thought to be one of the solution in enhancing science and mathematics learning in schools. As well, use of technology to support learning in science and mathematics would have been a solution if there was a serious government. Its high time for the government to keep politics away from academics. The other blabla of loans and the like are justs politics of education as well.

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