The academic year is almost over, this article is a reminder to parents, schools, governments and all of us about the importance of science and research.
Many advances in various scientific fields have taken place, to mention but a few the biosensors, the freezing of embryos, Kyoto protocol, amnesia drugs, and stopping the growth of children with a severe handicap. Of course, if you check these and many more advancements in science and technology you will notice that almost all were created in laboratories of high standing universities in the world. Also, if you check these advancements you will notice that those universities have received research grants from top government bodies and corporation who are very interested in buying these researchers to progress further economically.
These discoveries and knowledge advancements could not take place if research was not the main component in most universities’ curricula; this is the one thing we look for when checking a university for our students. In our part of the world research does not feature at all in any course, whilst in other parts of the world children as young as 8 or 9 starts to research certain subjects in libraries, internet and other sources.
I had a look at the number of high school graduates and their specializations in our part of the world, very few have graduated from the science stream, and to top it up very few boys have taken science as a discipline. Who is going to be our next Einstein? It’s the responsibility of us the academics, the government, and the companies to start building on this lack of science and research soul in our education system.
True that many new initiatives had taken place in the Gulf area to establish biotechnology centres and marine centres, however, I can see no links between these centres and the schools in the Gulf, we do not take the students to these centres, so they learn about them. Many of us now belong to the audio/visual theory of learning, thus if the students see for themselves what they will be doing later on if they enter the science stream, they may be encouraged to join a university and specialise in a scientific field. But, we take students to malls and fun cities and waste their learning time.
Governments should invest even more in research and encourage it, how else can we be closer than 500 light years from the first world countries. A small point to remember, the Arab world spends 0.0002% of its GDP on research. You can Google how much the western world spends, and see the difference for yourself.