Issues in Science and Technology
Post date: Mar 30, 2017 2:46:07 AM
By: Lucky Sonny A. Ligsanan
Our world is subjugated and even obsessed by ideas and products from science and technology (S&T). It is probable that the influence of S&T on our lives will persist to grow in the years to come. Increasing worth of S&T should be accompanied with a comparable growth in the interest in these subjects as well as increasing understanding of basic scientific ideas. In the study of Sioberg (2001), many countries have noticeable decrease in the numbers of students choosing the sciences. This trend is further enlarged in the enrolment to tertiary education.
This lack of interest in science often manifests itself at school. Youth culture, quality of teachers, stereotyping, researchers perceived as problematic, problematic values of science, dislike of an overambitious science, negative contributions and admiration are often perceived as the reasons.
Learning science habitually requires hard work and intellectual efforts. Concentration and hard work is not part of present youth culture. In a world where so many subjects compete about the attention of young people, science becomes untrendy.
S&T are scantily treated in teacher preparation for the early years. Moreover, the students who choose to become primary school teachers are often those who did not take or did not like science themselves in school. The present decline in recruitment of science teachers is now being felt also in secondary schools.
Many perceived image of the classic scientist and engineer is stereotypical and problematic. The image of the foolish scientist is prevalent, perhaps supported by cartoons, script in many popular movies. They are not perceived to be kind or helping and working to solve problems of our world.
Scientists debate and disagree on many socio-scientific issues. Such debates are also taken to the mass media and are not restricted to professional conferences and journals. The disagreement in public confuses and disappoints people who are acquainted with school science, where scientific knowledge is presented as definite and uncontroversial.
The principles of science include objectivity and rationality. When exaggerated the search for universal laws and theories may lead to an implied image of science as abstract and not related to human needs.
The achievements of science may call for admiration, but also agitation. Many people dislike the image and ambitions of modern biotechnology and Physics. They have emotional and rational fear about scientists who are tampering with Nature, and Playing God.
Scientists and engineers were considered heroes in the past. The scientists produced progressive knowledge and fought false notion and ignorance, the engineers developed new technologies and products that enhanced the quality of life. This image is, however forgotten by now. For many young people in prosperous and current societies, the fight for better health and a better material standard is an unknown history of the past. They do not see the fruits of S&T, but are more able to see the present evils of environmental degradation, pollution and global warming. Forgetting the benefits of the past, many put the fault of the current problems on S&T.
We live in a world that is to some extent created by the media. Basketball players and pop artists are exposed and earn fortunes. The profession of journalists and other media people seem interesting and challenging. Although few young people can obtain such careers, the new role models on either side of the camera create new ideals. The young people also know that lawyers and people at the stock exchange earn more money than the physicist in the laboratory. They also know that lack of physics knowledge is no hindrance to such careers.
Science education is critical to our future because of its relevance to the economy and the need for a citizenry able to make wise decisions on issues faced by modern society. Calls for improvement must become increasingly widespread and desperate.