Students of Senior 3 from the Green Hill Academy visited the Makerere University Herbarium on 11th October 2016. The students toured the botanical garden and the collection of the dried plant specimens. This is a move by the school to provide a practical view of what the students learn in class theoretical work. The visit was also intended to popularise science among the students. The group had visited the College of Health Sciences, Makerere before visiting the Herbarium. This fits with a recent drive by the College of Natural Sciences to popularise sciences among the youth. The herbarium is situated in the College of Natural Sciences.
- “A herbarium is a collection of preserved plants stored, catalogued, and arranged systematically for study by professionals and amateurs from many walks of life. A collection like this is a vital reference when you need to identify a plant and also serves to fix forever the identity of thousands of plant names. A herbarium is a cross between a museum of priceless artefacts and a warehouse of birth certificates for plants; and acts as a source of information about plants - where they are found, what chemicals they have in them, when they flower, what they look like”. – http://apps.kew.org/herbcat/gotoWhatIsHerbarium.do
- "Botanic/botanical gardens are institutions holding documented collections of living plants for the purposes of scientific research, conservation, display and education." - https://www.bgci.org/resources/1528/
Recent studies have shown that there has been a marked decrease in the number of students offering sciences at secondary school level more especially at A’ Level which directly feeds the higher institutions of learning where the professionals and researchers n the sciences are to be trained. This directly affects the future development of Uganda. However, one has to ask, is Uganda in position to harness the benefits of science in relation to the available human resources to drive the science and innovations that will deliver national development. Is the young generation aware of the contribution they will make and are the numbers admitted to the tertiary institutions commensurate to the task at hand?
Looking back to many generations, nations have used science, research and development to bolster their national development. One may refer to what the Industrial revolution did for Britain and many nations in Europe. Countries like Japan, the so-called ‘Asian tigers’, China, Brazil, India and South Africa have all followed the same route. Can Uganda follow the same? Yes, as has been stipulated by the National Development Plan 2010/2011 to 2014/2015 and the Vision 2040 for Uganda. Vision 2040 document stipulates that over the vision period, Uganda will re-orient itself to make science, research and innovation drivers of economic growth and the key pillar of competitiveness in trade.