Sep 24, 2011 News
Under the theme ‘Transforming Guyana through Science and Technology in Education,’ a Science and Technology fair at the Ministry of Education Sports Complex, Carifesta Avenue, attracted crowds of schoolchildren, yesterday.
The activity was part of the annual Education Month list of activities.
The aim of this event was to allow students throughout the country, the opportunity of becoming more aware of scientific and technological advancements while focusing on the implementation of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) in society.
With hundreds of visitors and more than 55 booths organized by both the private and public sector at this fair, the Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST), was the most popular.
According to Deonarine Jagdeo, Deputy Director of Technology at the IAST, the event was successful and there was much feedback received especially with what the IAST currently offers.
“The attendance was excellent and our booth was the only one which mostly represented the theme for Education Month. We had much more innovations than others. We focused on the four departments of Indigenous Materials, Bio-Energy, Bio-Prospecting and Analytical Services, each capturing almost everyone’s interest,” said Jagdeo.
Kaieteur News understands that the Indigenous Materials Department focuses on the development of durable, functional materials from cheap, renewable sources, waste recycled materials, waste biomass and clays.
At the fair, this department showcased samples of deck plates coated with rubberized asphalt which will be used to repair various sections of the Demerara Harbour Bridge.
This being on its capital projects for the year, the Bridge would see the coating of 60 percent of these plates, replacing the importeed materials previously used.
Some 1,500 of these rubberized asphalt coated plates being used on the bridge.
Students were made aware that the IAST’s efforts on Bio-Energy are related to biogas technologies, biodiesel technologies, ethanol technologies and waste biomass utilization.
The Institute currently operates a biodiesel plant, which was designed and built by its staff. The feedstock for this plant comes entirely from restaurant waste, produce procured in Mabaruma and is used to power the IAST’s fleet of vehicles as well as its rubber recycling and plastics recycling plant.
There is also a similar functioning bio-diesel plant at Mabaruma. This plant supplies power to the electricity station which generates power six hours a day.
“If we have the supply of stockfeed we could produce up to 20 (45-gallon) drums a day of the fuel for vehicles but we have difficulty in securing restaurant waste (used vegetable oil). But we produce between five and 10 drums a day for our own use as of right now”, added Jagdeo.
The IAST recently built a pilot scale biogas facility which utilizes waste biomass from the clearing of coastal drainage canals to produce power and is also collaborating with Brazil to utilize bracketing technology to exploit the potential power of waste wood and rice hulls biomass.
According to Jason Peters, a fourth year Science student of the JOS-EL Educational Institute, he was very pleased with the event.
“This fair was very educational where myself like others got to learn about a lot of things especially in the area of science. We learnt the essentials of how fuel is made (oil) and for technology about networking and how networks are set up, like the wireless internet,” said Peters.
Fifth form Student of the Charlestown Secondary School, Authumn Peters, stated that this was her first time at a fair of this magnitude.
“I never came to any science fair or so before but this is definitely interesting and education. They even had a lot of games here where entries were made for students to win computers for their schools and music IPODs for themselves. It was nice here.”
Students from the Tagore Memorial Secondary School, were in a rush for the bus to go home after the opening ceremony, but they did explain that the event was very appealing and interesting.
One student, who gave her name as ‘Christine’, told Kaieteur News that this year’s fair was “much better” than the previous years and that she looks forward to coming every year.
For those Berbice students, the most appealing booths were those which had practical demonstrations in the area of science.
The day of activities included a symposium aimed at stimulating students’ interest in both science and technology, with presentations from prominent academics in the fields.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony while emphasizing on the importance of technological advancements such as ICT in the future.
ICT is a major plank of the Ministry’s 2008-2013 Education Strategic Plan (ESP) and in keeping with the Education Ministry’s theme, this year, some 2,000 teachers across the country should be trained to use the computer as a teaching and learning tool.
This comes under the World Bank US$4.2M funded Teacher Reform Project. (Kristen Macklingam)
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