The World Science Day celebrations were successfully held at College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University on Monday, 10th November 2014. The theme for 2014 is,’ Promoting Quality Science Education: ensuring a sustainable future for all’.
Established by UNESCO in 2001, the World Science Day for Peace and Development is celebrated worldwide on 10 November each year. The day offers an opportunity to mobilize various partners to highlight the important role of science in society and to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues and the relevance of science in their daily lives.
The day was an opportunity for students to show works they have accomplished from their studies and practicals while at Makerere University. Some of the work exhibited included materials that can light charcoal stoves without smoke production; production of bio-plastics from cassava; soap making; solar systems assembling through use of natural plant dies and many others.
In his opening remarks, the Principal of CoNAS, Prof. J.Y.T Mugisha welcomed all participants and exhibitors to the college. He promised that in 2015 we would prepare early and invite more stakeholders like academic institutions and research instituitions. Prof. Mugisha thanked the student leadership of the college for their commitment to realise the success of the event. He also thanked the team led by Dr. Mango who worked hard to ensure that the event took place.
The guest of honour was the secretary general of the Uganda National Commission for UNESCO represented by Dr. Dominic Mundrugo-Ogo. In his remarks, he noted that basic sciences are an important area of life and reiterated the role of basic sciences as the bedrock of innovations. He noted that in the developed world, students complete bachelors’ degrees in basic science before continuing to applied science qualifications which is not the case for Uganda. He advised government to continue supporting sciences as a means of sustainability in development for the future. Dr. Dominic advised that for 2015, preparations should start early to ensure participation of other stakeholders.
Several scientists and staff from CoNAS and Makerere gave their takes on the importance of science to our nation and communities. The speakers included Assoc. Prof. Steven Nyanzi, Prof. John B. Kaddu, Prof. Livingstone Luboobi, Prof. Tom Otiti, Dr. Gabriel Kasozi, Prof. John Kabaasa and Prof. Hannington Oryem-Origa. The speakers called for more inter-linkages between the various sciences for problem solving purposes and more applicable innovations. Government was also implored to consider non-taxation of scientific equipment brought in the country. Instances were noted where equipment and material were donated by international partners but abandoned at the airport because of the high taxes levied.
This year, Makerere University, CoNAS and Uganda National Commission for UNESCO supported our students with materials to commemorate the day through an exhibition and speeches from re-known scientists. Students from College of Engineering Design Art and Technology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and College of Health Sciences also participated in the exhibition.