By Emmanuel Edukugho
As Science teachers met at the School of Science, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Educationâ€™s (AOCOED) 2010 National Conference on the theme â€“ â€œEveryday Science Connection for Sustainable Development in the 21st Century,â€ it was reaffirmed that Science and technology lie at the heart and soul of national development, distinguishing between developed and underdeveloped countries.
Dean, School of Science, AOCOED, Dr. Babs Adegbamigbe, described the theme as very unique and it conforms to the goals,s objectives and aspirations of Vision 20-2020. He said that Everyday Science Connection is an innovative initiative linking the teaching of Science and Technology among children, youths and adults to understand the living world through complex interplay of informal and formal educational experiences in our schools and societies.
This is aimed at improving learning outcomes at whatever levels and be useful in learnersâ€™ everyday life activities.
â€œSince learning is an interactive process and learners need to be actively involved in tasks that are achievable, useful, relevant and challenging, this will help to develop learnersâ€™ biological understanding from their activities in and out of learning environment.
It will also help learners come to understand the nature and purposes of scientific enquiries and knowledge because we as learners encounter highly discrepant images of science and technology across our daily lives.â€
He contends that the most important thing about everyday science connection is that learners must be allowed to experience at first hand as many objects and events possible so that they can develop their own creative powers.
â€œIt will also enable the learners to be able to share their experiences with others, to consider othersâ€™ viewpoints, and to evaluate those social interactions thoughtfully.
Furthermore, for the study of science and technology in our schools and society to be meaningful and relevant, it is necessary to begin to focus on manipulation of materials where learners can make connections between experiences they have in the outside world with models already in their minds.â€
â€œOver the years, the school has been engaged in so many academic activities and organised series of seminars, workshops, field trips, exhibitions, symposia, quiz competitions and so on.
This year, 2010 marks the turning point in the history of school of science when the first national conference is taken place.â€™
Provost of the College, Mr. Hakeem Ajose-Adeogun, remarked that the problems of Science education are so intense that the solutions have posed serious challenge.
â€œGovernment is not worried about the small number of science students and not finding enough science students in our classrooms. So much is spent to fund science conferences, seminars, workshops, yet students population in science is still low,â€ he noted.
Chairman, Governing Council of the College, Dr. (Mrs) Abeke Adefemi Taiore, while welcoming participants from far and near, said schools of science anywhere are significant and important part s of any educational institution, â€œbecause our civilisation and development are based on science and technology without which we cannot move far.â€
She expressed disappointment that in Nigeria, lip service is paid to science and technology in educational institutions as can be seen by the poor budget for education.
â€œBut instead of maximising the little fund available, it is squandered so that nothing is achieved. The school of science should join others and continue to press for improved funding for science education. I am personally involved in this vanguard, and before I went elsewhere, will continue to crave for enhanced science education funding at all levels.â€
She added: â€œI trained myself as a science teacher and want to encourage other science teachers to continue to push, not to relent, for improved funding of science education.â€
Taire appealed to AOCOED management to support science education to the hilt in the college because of the benefits to Lagos State and beyond.
In a keynote address, Professor Tope Popoola of the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, told his fellow scientists that the theme chosen for the conference is very germane and topical at this critical point in our development as a leading nation in Africa that is trying to be at par with the world.
â€œScience and its role in any society, most especially in its socio-economic development, must be viewed in the broad context of the history of that society. It is in this regard that it may be necessary to go back to our roots and re-examine those things we have done right in the development of science to achieve meaningful development.â€
He submitted that science is knowledge gained from experimentation, based on certain questions with a hypothesis and using steps to come to a conclusion. You have to observe something, question it, hypothesize and predict, experiment and have results. In science, it is ok to fail; to have your hypothesis rejected; you sometimes have to fail to gain further knowledge.
In his lead presentation, Michael Olusanya Ajetunmobi, Professor of Mathematics, Lagos State University, titled â€“ â€œEveryday Science Connection for Sustainable Development During Global Economic Meltdown,â€ traced the global financial downturn to the crisis that engulfed the world from the financial difficulties in the United States of America real esstate.
â€œThe collapse of a global housing bubble which peaked in USA in 2006 caused the values of securities tied to real estate pricing to plument, thereby damaging financial institutions globally.
Questions regarding bank solvency declines in credit availability and damaged investor confidence had an impact on global stock markets where securities suffered large losses during the late 2008 and 2009. Economies worldwide slowed down during this period as credit tightened and international trade declined.â€ He talked about the kind of science which can get our country out of the hardship and the economic meltdown. That many things can be done, little, little things, because, â€œfor us in Nigeria, we canâ€™t compete globally.â€™
He explained that the most important exit technique out of the global meltdown is to be scientific.
â€œWe can simplify the global language as: What can everyday science do to fulfill human needs during this crisis without compromising the ability of future generations. The solutions will not necessarily apply to the advanced economies because of the technology and science sophistication of their environment.â€
Ajetunmobi said that in his opinion, â€œthe application of everyday science that could reduce the hardship on mankind in the emerging economies could be viewed under three major headings â€“ self-discipline and security, inward-looking strategies and technological innovations.â€