By Jackee Batanda, Global Press Institute
As Uganda kicks off National Science Week today, an international initiative called Café Scientifique continues to gain popularity as a way to bring science to life in schools and communities. The interactive meetings – organized in Uganda by one woman – have earned local followers and national recognition.
KAMPALA, UGANDA – As students from Hilltop College, located on the outskirts of Kampala, the capital, gather for a Café Scientifique meeting at Colline Hotel, Betty Kituyi, the Uganda country coordinator for the growing program, explains the importance of science.
The small conference room at the hotel is filled with students, teachers and a member of the parent-teacher association board. Smartly dressed in their purple shirts and deep blue skirts and trousers, the students listen attentively to Kituyi’s introduction to the workshop on genetically modified organisms.
The workshop features Dr. Arthur Makara, a consultant at the Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development, a civil society organization that aims to promote the application of science and technology to improve livelihoods and better manage natural resources. It was a participatory discussion, as Kituyi encouraged students to answer questions and reminded them there were no right or wrong responses.
Kituyi says the purpose of the cafés is to engage the students in conversations about topics within their environment that they are curious about. Each café features various speakers from academia, medical centers and research institutions. Cafés have covered topics such as health, climate change, robotics, space science, oil, the environment and tree planting.
Teachers in Uganda have initiated multiple strikes in recent months, as critics say the educational system here is lacking. Café Scientifique organizers say that their informal forums can fill that void by stimulating discussion of and passion for real-life science among students and communities. The cafés here have gained local and national recognition and have become a staple in some schools and a feature of National Science Week, which is being held this week in Uganda. Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/uganda/international-program-fills-science-education-voids-uganda#ixzz1YPVLQKwZ