Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs Dr Haniso Motlhabane said Batswana have a “worrying phobia” for Mathematics and Science.
Motlhabani said Maths and Science are presented in an abstract manner to learners, making it hard for them to become familiar with them in their daily lives. He said this makes children not to be interested in Science.
“Science should be demystified as it is part our everyday life….. Science is not there, it is here with us. Everything we do in our daily lives is Mathematics and Science,” said Motlhabani.
Motlhabani said this on Monday when addressing journalists on a concerning low numbers of students who take on Maths and Science and do well in it.
In 2012 about 17000 took Mathematics and only 147 took A + grade, with 286 obtaining an A and 508 got Bs. In 2011 only 133 students got an A+, 339 got a straight A and 365 got a B. Motlhabani explained that these numbers are not satisfactory as Botswana is planning to move from a resource dependent economy to a “mind based” economy.
Motlhabani said as BIUST they are willing to induce Maths and Science interest on children from a young age. The Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs said as BIUST they want to show Batswana that there can be fun in Science and Maths and hopefully remove the “fear” of those subjects.
“We want to make Science and Maths enjoyable by presenting it in a playful and fun filled environment,” said Motlhabani.
Motlhabani said BIUST will create Science Centres for Batswana to see the interesting side of Maths and Science.
With the help of Australian High Commission in South Africa, BIUST is collaborating with the Australian Science and Technology Centre, Questacon, to bring what is called Science Circus Africa. This is a pioneering science outreach project intended to create fun through engaging in science exhibits, shows and teacher workshop in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Malawi.
“The current program is currently in the planning and fundraising stage, with a pilot project being rolled out during match-April 2014,” said BIUST.
The Australian Centre for Public Awareness of Science Coordinator Dr Graham Walker told reporters on Monday that he would like to see young Batswana become Scientists.
“We want to make an investment in the future of our tomorrow’s Scientists,” said Walker.