Friday, November 04, 2011
Africa needs more 'hands-on' science centres
According to Graham Durant, director of Questacon, Australia's National Science and Technology Centre, there are few science centres that offer hands-on experience for young people in Africa. These centres have grown rapidly in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe, as the value of hands-on experiential learning in science has been recognised. However, Africa has yet to see a similar expansion. Of 54 African countries, only four have science centres, and these are not as advanced as elsewhere. As Africa strives to fight poverty and achieve education for all under the Millennium Development Goals, it needs science centres to stimulate a love of learning and motivation for generating technological knowledge through hands-on engagement and inspiration. The opportunity for Africa was highlighted in September this year when the world science centre community convened in Cape Town, South Africa, for the 6th Science Centre World Congress where leaders of the world science centre networks signed a declaration that has committed international support to the development of science centres in Africa.