Education experts currently attending a two-day UN science in education conference in Kigali, have distinguished Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) based approach as the best way to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Speaking at the opening of the event, the Minister of Education, Dr. Charles Muligande, highlighted the relevance of science to achieve the world’s ambitions compiled as MDGs to save the majority of the population still living in extreme poverty.
Muligande said scientific innovations are needed to provide solutions to the challenges posed by increasing food insecurity on the continent.
He noted that the science would provide answers to the needs of the continent.
The minister acknowledged Rwanda’s inability to provide a critical mass of research and modern laboratories, indicating that the country is still lagging behind in STI development.
“We acknowledge that Rwanda is still lagging behind in STI, especially in areas of research. Though we recognize the great work by ISAR, but still, we have a long way to go,”
United Nations’ Shamila Nair Bedouelle said achieving MDGs would save millions of lives, and that the role of science in this struggle cannot be undermined.
“It is impossible to achieve sounding development without enhancing science and Technology and this makes it a precondition to the development,”
She also said the advancing knowledge due to spreading globalization should be the advantage of every one instead of creating more social distinctions.
Speaking at the conference, Kenya’s Deputy Minister of Education, Asman Kamama, who is representing the Chair of African Ministerial Council for Science and Technology, blamed the current global economic downturn for holding back the attainment of the development goals.
“Economic crises have increased food insecurity and as a result, major advances have been put on hold.
“Since 2008, we have registered a zero progress on MDG5 relating to reducing the child mortality death rate,” he revealed.
He further said that despite the abundant resources the continent has, exploitation remains big a challenge that can only be overcome by applying scientific innovations.
The two day conference was organised by the government of Rwanda and UNESCO under the One UN programme.
The first meeting of its kind in Africa to be hosted by ONE UN pilot country, Rwanda, has brought together scientific experts and other stake holders of the UN to unlock the potential of Science and Technology and Innovation to achieve MDGs in Rwanda.