By Wanangwa Tembo
Minister of Education, Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima, says the country has great potential to come up with serious innovations that can solve the challenges being faced in all sectors of the economy.
Wirima was speaking Tuesday at Kamuzu Academy in Kasunguwhen she presided over the prize presentation ceremony for the 12th National Schools Science Fair organised by the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST).
She said it is pleasing this year’s innovations are of good quality, giving hope about the future of the country and the rest of the region which she said is dependent on a solid science and technology base.
“The quality of the displays is quite impressive and beyond what I expect to see at secondary school level.
“We have seen innovations that can be used to protect people with albinism; we have seen automated health passports and many other great projects.
“In the end I wonder why we have all these challenges in the country while it can all be seen that we have all the solutions by ourselves,” Wirima said.
According to the minister, the science fair presents a rare opportunity for secondary school– going youth to demonstrate their scientific research and innovative problem-solving abilities that are crucial as the country moves towards a science-led industrialised economy by 2063.
“We rely on advances in science in almost every facet of our lives. Going forward, it is the wish of the ministry to see that such fairs also take place at regional level so as to give an opportunity to more schools to participate.
“We need significant investment in science and technology if we are to achieve tremendous economic transformation, and government is very committed to this cause because we believethis is one of the effective ways we can transform our economy and create jobs for our youths,” she said.
Mlanda Girls Secondary School emerged overall winner for this year’s science fair with its baby incubator innovation that is designed to help babies that are born prematurely. The school went away with K450 000 cash prize and a certificate.
Soy bean medicated soap by Chayamba Secondary School was pronounced second best innovation and earned the school a certificate and K300 000 cash prize while Chankhomi and Dzaleka secondary schools tied at number 3. Mzimba Secondary School completed the winners list at number five.
This year’s fair attracted 32 schools battling out in five categories namely value addition and preservation, energy, environment and climate change, health and technology.
NSCT Chief Documentation and Information Services Officer, Hambani Gausi, said the displays by the participating schools are great innovations that can positively impact communities.
“These are great ideas that can change our society. As NCST, we have a section on technological transfer and commercialisation which works with universities so that the ideas are nurtured,improved and have something that can be used in the society,” said Gausi.
This year’s science fair was sponsored by Press Trust, NCST and the Directorate of Science and Technology in the Office of President and Cabinet to the tune of K24.4 million
Also attending the ceremony were Minister of Trade, Sosten Gwengwe who is also Press Trust trustee and Director of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Ministry of Education Associate Professor Homora Mikeka among others.