Food security in an urbanising society

Disclaimer:  The information and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the ATPS Network.

Posted on 14th December, 2016by Mrs. Manon Lent

Today already more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050 this will be risen to two-thirds. The continuous increase of urban population is due to factors like rural-urban migration, natural disasters or livelihood insecurities. Providing food and nutrition security for the rapidly expanding populations in the world’s cities is a pressing challenge in this changing world. Delivering nutritious food to cities is a complex problem that is also challenged by natural resource scarcity, climate change, and population growth, which affect food systems globally.

Course objectives
1. Participants get well acquainted with the framework of city region food systems in relation to food and nutrition security in densely populated areas.
2. Participants are able to use the concepts of city region food systems to analyse urban food and nutrition security issues
3. Participants are able to use different designs, methods and approaches, and their interrelationships, in planning for food and nutrition security in urbanizing societies.

Target audience

The course is open to international participants and to MSc students of Wageningen University, preferably active in one of the following fields: rural/urban/spatial planning, agribusiness development, rural/urban livelihood governance, food and nutrition security and sustainable development. Several years of professional work experience and at least a BSc level are additional assets. Proficiency in English is a must.

Practical information:
Course date: 04 – 15 September 2017
deadline: 24 July 2017
Fellowship deadline NFP/MENA: 21 March 2017
Location: the Netherlands

For more information and online registration please visit our website: http://www.wur.nl/en/Expertise-Services/Research-Institutes/centre-for-development-innovation/short-courses/Short-courses-2017/CDIcourse_food_security_urbanizing_society_2017.htm


International course on climate change adaption in food security and natural resource management

Disclaimer:  The information and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the ATPS Network.

Posted on 25th May, 2016by Mrs. Manon Lent

Climatechange in sustainable development
Every year it becomes clearer that climate change is happening at a rapidpace and that it will have a profound impact on agriculture and management ofnatural resources. Without appropriate responses, climate change is likely toconstrain economic development and poverty reduction efforts.

Become involved with climate-smartstrategies
Climate change is again‘hot’ in public and political debate. Waves of attention seem to have relationwith what is happening in international climate negotiations. The upcomingParis UNFCCC Conference of Parties triggers much reaction from policymakers,NGOs and the private sector. But was have these negotiations to do with localproblems and initiatives for climate change adaptation? The focus of thiscourse is the translation of policy documents and research into climate-smartadaptation strategies. And about what you and your organisation can undertakeyourself for adaptation to climate change. Participants with an interest totake climate change adaptation further than the paper these policies arewritten on, are encouraged to apply. The training approach is interactive, withplenary and group work, study assignments, and a personnel action plan.

Course objectives

  1. Participants of this course will have full understanding of climate change adaptation concepts;
  2. They are able to effectively and meaningfully contribute to the debate on climate change adaptation, either in the policy process and/or in providing knowledge to the policy process.
  3. They will strengthen their positions in these processes on the basis of newly acquired concepts, skills and methodologies.

What themes will be covered in the course?

  • understanding climate change (concepts such as adaptation and mitigation, causes and risks) and implications for food security, agriculture and natural resource management;
  • concepts and assessment of vulnerability, resilience, coping strategies and sustainable development processes;
  • climate smart agriculture and natural resource management;
  • examples of adaptation strategies to climate change;
  • policy making processes, advocacy and integrating climate change issues into existing policy processes and rural development strategies.

Target audience
Applicants should have arelevant tertiary education, and at least three years of professionalexperience in a relevant field like policy development in agriculture, naturalresource management or sustainable development. Competence in the Englishlanguage is required.

 

NFP Fellowships
Nuffic has a limited number of fellowshipsavailable for nationals of certain countries
After you completed your registration for thiscourse, and you are eligible for NFP funding, you will receive anadmission letter with further instructions on the NFP application procedure.
Applications for NFP fellowships should be submitted online via the ATLASapplication form between 31 May and 19 July 2016. The linkand further instructions are given in the NFP admission letter.
For the latest information on NFP please check: https://www.studyinholland.nl/scholarships/highlighted-scholarships/netherlands-fellowship-programmes/netherlands-fellowship-programmes-nfp

Practical information

Course date: 30 January – 10 February 2017
Fellowship deadline:  19 July 2016
Deadline alternative funding: 19 December 2016
Location: Uganda

For more information and online registration please visitour website:  http://www.wageningenur.nl/en/Expertise-Services/Research-Institutes/centre-for-development-innovation/short-courses/Shortcourses2017/CDIcourse_climate_change_adaptation_2017.htm


smart home

Disclaimer:  The information and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the ATPS Network.

Posted on 13th January, 2014by Mr. samer aldurzi

www.regional.com.sa

www.rppit.com

thank you all smart your home to save your home we are a partner with you well help all to make your home a smart home


ST&I: Tunisia’s Lifeboat!

Disclaimer:  The information and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the ATPS Network.

Posted on 24th November, 2013by Prof. Jelel Ezzine

Abstract:

This modest contribution comes at a time when Tunisia is trying to find its way to a true democracy, equitable growth and dignity for its people.Youth joblessness in general and the unemployment of university degree holders in particular, were the main fuel of the Jasmine Revolution. Unless the true underlying causes are identified, all prescribed solutions, no matter how ingenious they are, won’t produce the collectively desired results. This short document, attempts to show that the key underlying cause, and thus Tunisia’s Achilles’ heel, is the poor structure of its industry. The analytic National Innovation System (NIS) framework is used to tackle this enduring and complex problem. Standard indicators, spanning the main components of the NIS, are used in an attempt to debunk the culprits, and initiate a collective curative process for our ailing society.


UNIVERSITIES IN PURSUIT OF INNOVATIVENESS

Disclaimer:  The information and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the ATPS Network.

Posted on 28th February, 2013by Mr. Onsare Robert

BY ROBERT OKEMWA ONSARE

 

It has come to our realization thatEngineering students alone cannot propel this country to the aspired height ofinnovation, says Dr Kamau Gachigi, the chairman and coordinator of Science andTechnology Park Steering Committee, University of Nairobi, thus we are scoutingfor creative and innovative minds from across the country to blend with engineeringstudents – to catalyze one another – to transform their knowledge into diverseprojects.

It is with this background that theMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, idea of FabricationLaboratory (fablab) comes into being. As of now fablab is an international networkthat is being domesticated by the University of Nairobi, School of Engineering,to realise a science and technology park. The park is igniting young peopleinnovativeness and creativity in an exciting way, Gachigi explains.

Another MIT fablab is operating inMajiwa at Bondo district, run by ARO Fablab, an NGO, sponsored by Norad Norway.

At MIT, the brain child of fablab -with a mission to muster a combination of passion and inventiveness, on howstudents can make (almost) anything notwithstanding their course of study.”A sculpture student with no background in engineering made a portablepersonal space for screaming that saves them, replaying later. Another made aweb browser that lets parrots navigate the Net,” says Prof NeilGershenfield, a MIT physicist and a computer scientist, who is among chiefproponents of fablab.

Apart from lectures on how to make(almost) anything – that will be shared, transmitted via satellite across the35 countries around the world – where Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa are thefirst beneficiaries in Africa. “The students will access unique equipmentswhich are appropriate and very expensive,” says Gachigi.

The Ministry of Higher Educationwill be providing other necessary materials and facilities as need and timewill command. Aspiring innovators will also benefit from the nationalpublic-private endowment fund to facilitate research in science, technology,and innovation. Yes, Kenya National Council of Science and Technology is out tohelp upcoming scientist to improve on their innovations as well market to theprivate sector through grants to enable them scale prototypes into final marketoriented products.

“For innovative ideas to betranslated to end products, financial back up is essential,” says Prof ShemWandiga, the director for the Centre for Science and Technology Innovation,Kenya, “the Ministry of Higher Education is toying with the idea of scoutinginnate-innovative-talents across the country to nurture them into maturity.”

Wandiga says that Kenya has hadinnovators who drown into the tides of time from lack of motivation,institutional and financial support, their works not patented, and poverty thatcompels them to seek jobs in companies that exploit them with a peanut pay.

Students need to be given access andmeans to solve their contextual problems, inventively, says Gershenfield, thistouches something very, very deep – somehow it goes back to nest-building ormastering their own environment.

There is sort of this deep thinginside that most people don’t express that comes tumbling out when they getaccess to MIT fablab tools,” he says.

 

 

A strong base for sciences andmathematics is very vital to extract great applied scientist, points out ProfJesse Role, chairman, department of technology, University of Eastern Africa,Baraton (UEAB); adding  that creativethinking should be blended in our learning process from primary schools touniversity.

 

 

Prof Role who is an electronicscommunication engineer points out the necessity of indentifying studentsabilities from a tender age thus exposing them in what they are good at both interms of subjects and even toys since innovation is self driven.

 

 

He points out the importance ofrealizing that innovation is self driven by the needs of the people. Hence,identifying the Kenyan needs to be met against the available resources is vital.

 

 

The Kenyan government needs tomagnetize international companies which will in return provide learningequipment to institution of higher learning as they are doing in many countriesacross the world because those who are trained will be absorbed by the samecompanies, the don says.

 

 

He further recommends the Kenyangovernment needs to undertake industrial zoning – that is building industriesclose to relevant training institutions – which will enable students to have afirsthand exposure – which will lead them to question the kind of improvementthey can afford.

 

 

Students need to realize that theirdivergent disciplines of study should not be an hindrance to invention orinnovativeness, says Arsenio Poblete, a mathematics lecture at UEAB, who dubsup as a design artist, innovation is an inner will to create something that canbe an answer to a prevailing problem or coming up with means of improving onexisting device.

The don says that innovation is notcontained in building far reaching projects/devices but “simple” devices thatcan be of help to a given people. “Thus,” Poblete says, “inventors andinnovators are those minds capable of harmonizing a wide range of principles,from vast disciplines; languages, arts, social sciences, mathematics, puresciences, engineering and technology.”

 

 

For Joshua Adegun, a technology donat UEAB says that the greatest tragedy that befalls life of students as theyadvance with their academic pursuit is the fading away of childhood curiosity –the drive to ask, observe, try, and make things with available materials whichis a great ingredients towards invention and innovativeness.

Prof Kaburu M’rubu, the VC of GretsaUniversity, Thika, laments that for long we have been depending on other peopleinnovations which have reduced us to mitumba (second – hand) technologyadaptors, adding: “Innovation can however make us technology donors. And thoughtechnology requires resources, it actually begins in the mind.”

The science and technology park atthe University of Nairobi will design an infrastructure for research ideas,says Gachigi, will be conceptualized, experimented, build to end products inthe school of engineering laboratory, and market the devices. “The rapidprototyping facility will be used as an innovation centre for universitystudents, lecturers and the general public.”

“We are a centre of incubation,”says the mechanical engineering lecture, “we already have more than sevenoperational companies, Tekno International and BWANA Industries, among them,springing out of innovativeness to meet the people’s needs while creating jobopportunities.”

However, African schools have aproblem in focusing so heavily on theory, says Dr Ave Kludze, a Ghana scientistat National Astronautical Science Agency (NASA), whereas they are expected tofocus heavily on practical – solving real problems at the university.

“If we can bring that practicalelement into African schools,” says Kludze, who was a system engineer indeveloping Calipso Satellite that was launched in 2006, “we have a lot ofbrilliant young minds who will benefit.”

The University of Nairobi, MIT fablab, engineering students, have formed a highschool outreach program with a mission of popularizing engineering, encouragingsecondary school students to pursue applied sciences, technology and engineeringas a mean towards Kenya’s vision, to be industrialized by 2030.


What will correct Africa’s socio-economic fails?

Disclaimer:  The information and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the ATPS Network.

Posted on 18th February, 2013by Ms. Sarah Wakasa

By Sarah Wakasa

Numerous challenges stand in the way of Africa’s ambition, one might lax, stuck amidst this tangles of economic and social fails that have crippled progress.

Why do we fail and wander aimlessly unable to feed our children and yet countries with a fraction of the resources we boast of manage to become first class nations amidst the worst of economic crises?

More than 218 million people live in extreme poverty. Poverty has made the continent writhe in other opportunistic fiends like climate change yet its economies rely on climate-dependent sectors such as water-fed agriculture, and its coping capacities are weak.

What’s worse – when breaks like HIV/AIDS, corruption, conflict and wars keep stagnating this fight against poverty.

So has money set us apart? Yes the lack of it at least – Undoubtedly, poverty has put an unbearable strain on Africa.

While noting Africa’s maladies, it would be dispiriting not to mention the improvement in telecom innovation that has broadly improved the quality of life across sub-Saharan Africa.

There has been an increase in African countries that are increasingly embracing technology as a driver of development, e.g. Kenya’s Vision 2030 and Rwanda’s rapid ICT growth.  Despite sub-Saharan Africa’s impressive economic performance over the past decade, which has resulted in marginal poverty reduction, her way to economic liberation is still beset with thorny issues that need a massive and quick clean up!

Africa is still aloof, missing out on technologies and innovations chances that have seen other regions massively reaping gains.

And in the face of this, we still do not see much allegiance by parliamentarians in investing in research institutions and efforts towards innovation and entrepreneurship.

The latest world University ranking demonstrates this as only three universities in Africa, all in South Africa, made it to the top 400 in the 2012/2013 Reuters/Times Higher Education.

Countries are making a kill from technology and innovation, yet what we see in our backyards are continuous ranting about political supremacy rather than issue-based politics, a distraction to the public and an amusement backed by our media.

Africa, a great consumer of technological knowledge from other region’s innovations still falters behind, lacking aggressive policies and commitment to build its own capacities.

“Without aggressive policies and commitment to build endogenous capacities on the continent, Africa will remain a knowledge consumer not a knowledge producer in the third industrial revolution,” said Prof. Kevin Urama, of the Executive Director of the Africa Technology Policy Studies (ATPS).

In order to change this, we need a serious reform of our priorities to those that would fast pace our economic issues. What better way than promoting policies that would boost business science, research, agricultural productivity, for example?

Our governments need to encourage its in-house initiatives aiming at transforming Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) knowledge structures. Initiatives like tech hubs need to be supported by governments and the private-sector. We need to buzz up these young African talents and the works to increase the competitive impact they aim.

We need to need to tap into the private sector; continual handouts will not liberate us. We need to elect leaders that will cultivate an entrepreneur-friendly environment. An atmosphere where entrepreneurs can foster their small and medium–size sized companies, where easier access to capital needs are made possible.

The irony is that most of our nations have now clocked the 50 year mark of independence, yet we are trapped in the over-reliance of hand-outs. Crippled with widespread corruption that is costly and a derailment to development and augmented socio-economic disparities.

Our problems may seem complex but one sure thing is that innovation and entrepreneurship are comebacks to sustainably set us on a competitive globally edge.

(The information and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the ATPS Network).

 


UNIVERSITIES IN PURSUIT OF INNOVATIVENESS

Disclaimer:  The information and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the ATPS Network.

Posted on 28th February, 2013by Mr. Onsare Robert

BY ROBERT OKEMWA ONSARE

 

It has come to our realization thatEngineering students alone cannot propel this country to the aspired height ofinnovation, says Dr Kamau Gachigi, the chairman and coordinator of Science andTechnology Park Steering Committee, University of Nairobi, thus we are scoutingfor creative and innovative minds from across the country to blend with engineeringstudents – to catalyze one another – to transform their knowledge into diverseprojects.

It is with this background that theMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, idea of FabricationLaboratory (fablab) comes into being. As of now fablab is an international networkthat is being domesticated by the University of Nairobi, School of Engineering,to realise a science and technology park. The park is igniting young peopleinnovativeness and creativity in an exciting way, Gachigi explains.

Another MIT fablab is operating inMajiwa at Bondo district, run by ARO Fablab, an NGO, sponsored by Norad Norway.

At MIT, the brain child of fablab -with a mission to muster a combination of passion and inventiveness, on howstudents can make (almost) anything notwithstanding their course of study.”A sculpture student with no background in engineering made a portablepersonal space for screaming that saves them, replaying later. Another made aweb browser that lets parrots navigate the Net,” says Prof NeilGershenfield, a MIT physicist and a computer scientist, who is among chiefproponents of fablab.

Apart from lectures on how to make(almost) anything – that will be shared, transmitted via satellite across the35 countries around the world – where Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa are thefirst beneficiaries in Africa. “The students will access unique equipmentswhich are appropriate and very expensive,” says Gachigi.

The Ministry of Higher Educationwill be providing other necessary materials and facilities as need and timewill command. Aspiring innovators will also benefit from the nationalpublic-private endowment fund to facilitate research in science, technology,and innovation. Yes, Kenya National Council of Science and Technology is out tohelp upcoming scientist to improve on their innovations as well market to theprivate sector through grants to enable them scale prototypes into final marketoriented products.

“For innovative ideas to betranslated to end products, financial back up is essential,” says Prof ShemWandiga, the director for the Centre for Science and Technology Innovation,Kenya, “the Ministry of Higher Education is toying with the idea of scoutinginnate-innovative-talents across the country to nurture them into maturity.”

Wandiga says that Kenya has hadinnovators who drown into the tides of time from lack of motivation,institutional and financial support, their works not patented, and poverty thatcompels them to seek jobs in companies that exploit them with a peanut pay.

Students need to be given access andmeans to solve their contextual problems, inventively, says Gershenfield, thistouches something very, very deep – somehow it goes back to nest-building ormastering their own environment.

There is sort of this deep thinginside that most people don’t express that comes tumbling out when they getaccess to MIT fablab tools,” he says.

 

 

A strong base for sciences andmathematics is very vital to extract great applied scientist, points out ProfJesse Role, chairman, department of technology, University of Eastern Africa,Baraton (UEAB); adding  that creativethinking should be blended in our learning process from primary schools touniversity.

 

 

Prof Role who is an electronicscommunication engineer points out the necessity of indentifying studentsabilities from a tender age thus exposing them in what they are good at both interms of subjects and even toys since innovation is self driven.

 

 

He points out the importance ofrealizing that innovation is self driven by the needs of the people. Hence,identifying the Kenyan needs to be met against the available resources is vital.

 

 

The Kenyan government needs tomagnetize international companies which will in return provide learningequipment to institution of higher learning as they are doing in many countriesacross the world because those who are trained will be absorbed by the samecompanies, the don says.

 

 

He further recommends the Kenyangovernment needs to undertake industrial zoning – that is building industriesclose to relevant training institutions – which will enable students to have afirsthand exposure – which will lead them to question the kind of improvementthey can afford.

 

 

Students need to realize that theirdivergent disciplines of study should not be an hindrance to invention orinnovativeness, says Arsenio Poblete, a mathematics lecture at UEAB, who dubsup as a design artist, innovation is an inner will to create something that canbe an answer to a prevailing problem or coming up with means of improving onexisting device.

The don says that innovation is notcontained in building far reaching projects/devices but “simple” devices thatcan be of help to a given people. “Thus,” Poblete says, “inventors andinnovators are those minds capable of harmonizing a wide range of principles,from vast disciplines; languages, arts, social sciences, mathematics, puresciences, engineering and technology.”

 

 

For Joshua Adegun, a technology donat UEAB says that the greatest tragedy that befalls life of students as theyadvance with their academic pursuit is the fading away of childhood curiosity –the drive to ask, observe, try, and make things with available materials whichis a great ingredients towards invention and innovativeness.

Prof Kaburu M’rubu, the VC of GretsaUniversity, Thika, laments that for long we have been depending on other peopleinnovations which have reduced us to mitumba (second – hand) technologyadaptors, adding: “Innovation can however make us technology donors. And thoughtechnology requires resources, it actually begins in the mind.”

The science and technology park atthe University of Nairobi will design an infrastructure for research ideas,says Gachigi, will be conceptualized, experimented, build to end products inthe school of engineering laboratory, and market the devices. “The rapidprototyping facility will be used as an innovation centre for universitystudents, lecturers and the general public.”

“We are a centre of incubation,”says the mechanical engineering lecture, “we already have more than sevenoperational companies, Tekno International and BWANA Industries, among them,springing out of innovativeness to meet the people’s needs while creating jobopportunities.”

However, African schools have aproblem in focusing so heavily on theory, says Dr Ave Kludze, a Ghana scientistat National Astronautical Science Agency (NASA), whereas they are expected tofocus heavily on practical – solving real problems at the university.

“If we can bring that practicalelement into African schools,” says Kludze, who was a system engineer indeveloping Calipso Satellite that was launched in 2006, “we have a lot ofbrilliant young minds who will benefit.”

The University of Nairobi, MIT fablab, engineering students, have formed a highschool outreach program with a mission of popularizing engineering, encouragingsecondary school students to pursue applied sciences, technology and engineeringas a mean towards Kenya’s vision, to be industrialized by 2030.


What will correct Africa’s socio-economic fails?

Disclaimer:  The information and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the ATPS Network.

Posted on 18th February, 2013by Ms. Sarah Wakasa

By Sarah Wakasa

Numerous challenges stand in the way of Africa’s ambition, one might lax, stuck amidst this tangles of economic and social fails that have crippled progress.

Why do we fail and wander aimlessly unable to feed our children and yet countries with a fraction of the resources we boast of manage to become first class nations amidst the worst of economic crises?

More than 218 million people live in extreme poverty. Poverty has made the continent writhe in other opportunistic fiends like climate change yet its economies rely on climate-dependent sectors such as water-fed agriculture, and its coping capacities are weak.

What’s worse – when breaks like HIV/AIDS, corruption, conflict and wars keep stagnating this fight against poverty.

So has money set us apart? Yes the lack of it at least – Undoubtedly, poverty has put an unbearable strain on Africa.

While noting Africa’s maladies, it would be dispiriting not to mention the improvement in telecom innovation that has broadly improved the quality of life across sub-Saharan Africa.

There has been an increase in African countries that are increasingly embracing technology as a driver of development, e.g. Kenya’s Vision 2030 and Rwanda’s rapid ICT growth.  Despite sub-Saharan Africa’s impressive economic performance over the past decade, which has resulted in marginal poverty reduction, her way to economic liberation is still beset with thorny issues that need a massive and quick clean up!

Africa is still aloof, missing out on technologies and innovations chances that have seen other regions massively reaping gains.

And in the face of this, we still do not see much allegiance by parliamentarians in investing in research institutions and efforts towards innovation and entrepreneurship.

The latest world University ranking demonstrates this as only three universities in Africa, all in South Africa, made it to the top 400 in the 2012/2013 Reuters/Times Higher Education.

Countries are making a kill from technology and innovation, yet what we see in our backyards are continuous ranting about political supremacy rather than issue-based politics, a distraction to the public and an amusement backed by our media.

Africa, a great consumer of technological knowledge from other region’s innovations still falters behind, lacking aggressive policies and commitment to build its own capacities.

“Without aggressive policies and commitment to build endogenous capacities on the continent, Africa will remain a knowledge consumer not a knowledge producer in the third industrial revolution,” said Prof. Kevin Urama, of the Executive Director of the Africa Technology Policy Studies (ATPS).

In order to change this, we need a serious reform of our priorities to those that would fast pace our economic issues. What better way than promoting policies that would boost business science, research, agricultural productivity, for example?

Our governments need to encourage its in-house initiatives aiming at transforming Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) knowledge structures. Initiatives like tech hubs need to be supported by governments and the private-sector. We need to buzz up these young African talents and the works to increase the competitive impact they aim.

We need to need to tap into the private sector; continual handouts will not liberate us. We need to elect leaders that will cultivate an entrepreneur-friendly environment. An atmosphere where entrepreneurs can foster their small and medium–size sized companies, where easier access to capital needs are made possible.

The irony is that most of our nations have now clocked the 50 year mark of independence, yet we are trapped in the over-reliance of hand-outs. Crippled with widespread corruption that is costly and a derailment to development and augmented socio-economic disparities.

Our problems may seem complex but one sure thing is that innovation and entrepreneurship are comebacks to sustainably set us on a competitive globally edge.

(The information and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the ATPS Network).

 


WE NEED TO GO MICRO SCIENCE

Disclaimer:  The information and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the ATPS Network.

Posted on 12th February, 2013by Mr. Onsare Robert

BY ROBERT OKEMWA ONSARE

 

Technological divide will keep on growing betweendeveloped and developing countries so long as new approaches are not adopted inthe teaching of sciences and mathematics at primary and secondary schools.

 

Most Kenyan secondary schools laboratories are ill-equipped for thestudents to carryout experiments; thus students perceivesciences as dull, theoretical and abstract. They then fail to relate what they are taught withits application inthe real world.

 

Science will remain to be an abstract pursuit tolearners so long as they are not exposed to its real application in dailylives. Technology will never be appropriate if students are not afforded meansof contextualizing it – this should earnestly begin in our laboratories.

 

Indeed it is a challenge to expect overnightsufficient equipmentfor more than 4,000 secondary schools laboratories across the nation – toleap frog science learningfrom its present wanting status. With Kenya’s ambitious vision to beindustrialized by 2030,we need to go micro science using modern technology that is cheap, in thepursuit of chemistry and physics thus most schools can afford facilities.

 

Indeed, physical sciences are the worst hit in mostKenyan schools from lack of access to laboratory facilities, because, biologicalsciences draws most of its practicallearning materials from nature.Micro-sciencecost is reasonable for Sh15,000 you can buy a kit and chemicals for doing experiments for 40students, for awhole year. As-much -as we are stuckin macro-science: learning sciencethroughcurrent mode, facilities is a challenge while the scientific ground has shifted beneath us.

 

We’re in the era of nano measurements, microchips, and milligrams(mg) quantities. However thegreatest challenge in adapting this’ new technology is retraining the teachersin macro-science. We haveto accept that the world is going small and smaller. When students graduate theyare going to usesmall (micro) qualities in their scientific pursuits.

 

Nevertheless all chemistry and physics practicals can bedone by harnessing microchemistry. Huge costs involved in the purchase of bunsen burners, gascylinders andrefilling the cylinders will be history – oil burners energy will be sufficient.This will bridge thegapof lack of facilities, that is prevalent in most schools in Kenya save for nationaland some provincial schools. In learning electricity, electronics, magnetism, semiconductors, solenoidsin physics – micro-physics will become handy.

 

Forscience to play its rightful role as an agent towards industrialization;teachers need to beretrained to appreciate science more than before; be armed withnew methods of disseminatingscience and be horned with newideas onthe evolving technologies.

 

Yes, colleges and universities which are thetraining ground for teachers needs to embrace micro science for their graduatesto understand and appreciate the application of micro science.  It’s a positive to note that our localinstitutions of higher learning are positioning themselves towards electroniclaboratories. Multism and multlab virtual programs are gaining ground intechnical and engineering learning to cite examples. This should be the case inpoint with micro science.

 

The abovenotwithstanding what imprisons the Kenyan learning environment is that we go toschool to secure qualifications that will afford us a job– not necessary forlife.If we were learning for life there will be a more practical approach torealities of life than we are experiencing at the moment. Are our graduatesfrom the different levels of education systems agents of change? scientifically,morally, spiritually or socially? I believe the answer is we have miles tocover.

 

However, if we’re training for job, we need toexpand our job market – attract investors and entrepreneurs who can open up theKenyan industry. Overthe years, job opportunities for science graduates have been dwindling,thus stifling motivation from (earners in schools to pursue pure andapplied sciences with enthusiasm.

 

Kenya needsto invest in cheap sourceof electricity to add value to our raw resources before exporting. For example,process titanium, sodium chloride and coal to their end products. Titanium metal is inhigh demand in aero-industry (making of planes, shuttles, ship), it is with thisbackground that the Kenyan scientific, technological and engineering associationsneed to scale and employ new approaches of promoting scientific uptake towardsa technological convergence that will usher in a practical scientifictransformation in this nation.

 

The above associations have a challenge to muster their acumen to seethat theoretical knowledge impacts the society positively, is transferred tothe industry and research findings are integrated in government policy framework.

 

As scientists, technologist and engineers – we are struggling to see thatwe are part of the answer to the problems that are biting us.

 

For example, during the last water crisis that wewent through as a nation – Pan African Chemistry NetWork (PACN) held aconference at Chiromo Campus, University of Nairobi dubbed as sustainable waterfor development – researchfindings, study cases and researchpapers were shared on how to overcome such a challenge presently and in future.Now the question is: is the report thereof being implemented? Do we havescientist with unrelenting passion on the same? Have Kenyan scientist mustereda diplomatic acumen to win the political leadership support hence channelingthere reports into transformative policies?

 

It is noteworthy that the PACN conference winded upwith a workshop on green chemistry which looked into means of cupping waste andpollution atthe manufacturing level. Are we seeing any impact on the same?

 

It is evident science is one of the basic answer to theprevailing problems we are going through as a nation. Thus we cannot afford to neglect to adoptrelevant and cheap means of disseminating science at primary and secondary school levels; whichare the fortress of future Kenyan scientist Micro-science is the way to go.


Key Messages for the African Union and African Governments

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Posted on 25th November, 2012by Prof. ATPS Admin

The African leaders and scholars from 29 countries from Africa, Australia, Europe, United States of America, India and Africans in the Diaspora meeting in Addis Ababa for the ATPS internal conference 2012, have observed that

  • Africa has a comparative advantage for transitioning to a low carbon development pathway that is inclusive, sustainable and resource efficient.
  • If supported by endogenous research and capacity building, some emerging technologies and existing sustainable development practices on the African continent can help to improve productivity and resource efficiency for inclusive development in Africa.
  • Social innovations provide opportunities for enhancing economic growth and social prosperity through youth employment, entrepreneurship and value creation.

  • African Universities stand to benefit from the mainstreaming trans-disciplinary research and teaching to overcome the weak collaboration and coordination that exist between disciplines, universities, industry, the public sector and civil society in Africa.
  • African countries are not effectively harnessing the untapped potential of the continent’s bulging youth and women population for development.

Based on these observations, they came up with recommendations for the African Union and African governments including:

  • Africa needs to lead its own dialogue on low carbon development and green growth and proactively invest in the required capacities to ensure African ownership of the inevitable transitioning processes that are unfolding globally.
  • There is a need for a shift towards trans-disciplinary teaching and research approaches to encourage collaboration and networking across disciplines and between universities, the productive sectors and civil society, with special reference to innovation-driven value addition, employment creation and inclusive development strategies.
  • In order to harness the resource potential for productivity improvements in Africa, urgent and significant investments is required in STI education and research to build endogenous capacities for appropriate technology development, diffusion, deployment and regulation.
  • Harnessing the opportunities for social innovations will require a favourable policy environment, incentive structures, innovation incubation, training and mentorship in entrepreneurship.
  • Proactive measures to harness the potentials of the youth and women in STI policymaking and implementation are necessary pre-requisites for achieving the SDGs in Africa.

While closing the conference, Prof. Shaukat Abdulrazak, the chair of the ATPS Board pointed out that African governments and policy makers in education must emphasize demystification of science.

Through this, noted Prof. Abdulrazak, attitude of science can become a culture in Africa.

The executive director Prof. Kevin Urama said that Africans should stop agonizing about problems facing the continent, but rather to start organizing the solution.

He noted that technology innovation is the way out for Africa, noting the innovation in telecommunication like Mpesa technology in Kenya which changing millions of lives in the country.