Friday, February 10, 2012

Matters of science students

1. In the last two weeks or so the alarming reduction of the number and also percentage of science students in schools were discussed in some newspapers and meetings and as a scientist I am compelled to say a few words.
2. The Science Chair of National Professor Council from USM who is a mathematcian suggested special monetary allowance be given to science students and this was arrogantly dismissed by an officer from the Ministry of Education who said the Ministry has other better ways to address this issue. I remember in the 1960s the good students were given some $20-$45 per month to motivate them to study better and the majority ended up doing science.
3. The VC of UM suggested the teachers to relook at the ways how science is taught and he recommended more IT oriented way and also more field-based. The Deputy Minister of Education wants to look holistically. Some suggested establishing more science residential schools. Jolly good that many people are interested to talk about this and the Ministry and its agencies to discuss this. It is fact that science students will one day become doctors, opticians, pharmacists, engineers, biotechnologists, zoologists, food scientists, geneticists microbiologists, IT specialists etc etc.
4. I just want to say these
(a) Do we have scientific institutions in the states where our natural resources are held?
(b) Do we encourage to establish scientific institutions in our beloved country like the Botanic Gardens, Herbarium, Natural History Museums, Science Centres etc?
(c) Do we have excellent and dedicated science teachers in schools like those of the 1960s?
(d) Do we have the school and university labs well equipped to make science teaching enjoyable?
(e) Do we ever look at the salary scheme of the science teachers and lecturers? Do we ever assess our science curricula?
Otherwise you people out there can talk and talk forever. After all this is NOT a new issue at all it is as old as our Independent Nation.