Science is not limited to laboratories, rather, it is omnipresent and has become an integral part of our lives. Countries such as India and China have witnessed substantial economic growth by harnessing the potential of scientific and technological tools. Hence, the accelerated transitioning of Mauritius, from middle- to high-income status, necessitates the ability to keep pace with science and technology.
The above statement was made by the President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, this morning, at the launching of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre (RGSC), in Bell Village.
The High Commissioner of India to Mauritius, Ms Nandini Singla; the Chairperson, RGSC Trust Fund, Mrs Ellora Mishra Dhunnoo; the Director, RGSC, Dr Aman Kumar Maulloo; representatives from different countries; and other personalities were also present during the commemorative ceremony.
In his keynote address, President Roopun deplored the diverse misapprehensions youngsters tend to have with regards to the rationale behind learning science subjects. These misconceived ideas, he pointed out, should be dispelled. On this note, he underscored that science should be popularised and taught by passionate educators to arouse the curiosity of young children in acquiring scientific knowledge.
Extending his gratitude to the Government of India for offering its continuous support and collaboration, Mr Roopun highlighted that the RGSC has, since its inception, been actively engaged in the organisation of science competitions, workshops, sky observation programmes and science weeks. Different age categories, from pre-primary students to the senior citizens, avail themselves of these science-based initiatives, he added.
Championing Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) awareness among the public, President Roopun indicated, is imperative to better address the emerging societal and ecological challenges, using a multidisciplinary approach. Furthermore, he emphasised on the significance of fostering a culture of research in the fields of science and technology. Research and development, according to him, nurture innovation, create employment, improve the quality of life and ascertain sustainability in the country.
Nonetheless, President Roopun cautioned on the need to strike a balance between the physical and virtual world. He also dwelt on how the RGSC can work collaboratively with educational institutions to stimulate technological advancements in Mauritius.
On his part, Mrs Dhunnoo recalled that the RGSC was established following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Mauritius and India in 2004. She expressed her thanks to the Government of India for their technical guidance and outlined the numerous achievements of the RGSC within the 20 years of its existence.
Mr Maulloo indicated that since 2004, an estimated 10,000 students have participated in the activities organised by the RGSC.
The event concluded with the unveiling of a logo commemorating the 20th anniversary celebrations, and the launching of the first edition of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Excellence Award 2024.
A number of activities namely a National Science week, American Maker Space Programmes for youngsters, Sky observation programmes, project-based contests, model glider and “Deba klima” has been planned for 2024.