Young scientists get boost

Olivia Muchena, the minister responsible, said last week in the eastern border town of Mutare during the launch that she hoped the project would take off and become the engine for the country’s economic development. The minister revealed that her ministry, which adopted the theme “Youth in Support of Science and Technology”, aims to promote development of a national science culture. Explaining, the director of development and projects in the ministry Rungano Karimanzira, said that there is need to streamline science and technology in everyday activities for young people to appreciate the importance of creativity, innovation, invention and originality and “demystify the teaching of science subjects in school”. “We’re going on a big promotion ‘ in schools, tertiary institutions, the communities and on the website ‘ where all things to do with youth participation in S & T will be encouraged,” she said during the big midmorning event at the town’s Courtauld Theatre Hall. To achieve this, the ministry called for the setting up of media strategies to raise awareness and educate the public on the importance of science and technology. ‘There is need for the setting up of a journalists’ forum of science writers,” Karimanzira told the meeting that included government officials from her ministry, captains of industry, representatives from the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization as funding partners, budding scientists and inventors as well as the media. The government policy stresses the need for setting networks of researchers, inventors and institutions to help build capacity within communities, schools and the private sector. Te declared government support comes as good news to organizations like the Zimbabwe Inventors’ Association whose president Ignatius Nyongo has been at the forefront calling for support. “It has been a long road to travel since 2001,” says Nyongo, happy that ZIA works under the ministry to promote the development of inventions. “Since technology plays an important role in industry and commerce, there is need to continue identifying talent in our people at all levels – especially the youth,” he says. Also in the plan is a call to ensure that benefits and intellectual property rights relating to products and inventions derived from indigenous knowledge should be shared between the communities they originate in and those developing the products. Taking the above further, Nyongo informed the participants his organization is planning to host the Intellectual Property Expo 2006 in September in collaboration with the ministry and the Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organisation. ‘There is also need to resuscitate the Young Scientists Exhibition that went defunct in the 1980s and holding of competitions at district, provincial and national levels as a way of stimulating interest,” says the man who has a passion for inventions and has invented a multi-purpose plough among other domestic appliances and equipment.

March 2006
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