Nam facing challenges that prevent advancement of RSTI

29 Jun 2015 18:00pm
WINDHOEK, 29 JUN (NAMPA) – Higher Education, Training and Innovation Minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi says Namibia faces numerous challenges which have to be overcome head-on to allow for Research, Science, Technology and Innovation (RSTI) advancement.
These challenges include low investment in research and development; fragmentation of science, technology and innovation (STI) activities; and the unavailability of innovation indicators, inventory of facilities, laboratories and instruments for research.
Kandjii-Murangi said this during the opening of the five-day 2015 STI Festival in Windhoek on Monday.
The festival is organised by the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) to promote science and technology to the public and to serve as an eye-opener to people, especially the youth.
Kandjii-Murangi added that another challenge is the unavailability of a centralised information system on STI-related activities such as research and development.
She said her ministry and local institutions of higher learning are committed to working with all stakeholders to improve the country's performance in areas such as knowledge creation, knowledge impact, knowledge diffusion and creative outputs.
“As we look forward to even more exciting advances in STI, we are mindful of the need to enthuse and inspire our youth to ensure that Namibia has the necessary talent base for research and development to benefit our economy and society,” Kandjii-Murangi stated.
She stressed that specific efforts are being made to promote public awareness on the importance of RSTI through development and implementation programmes as outlined in the National Programme on Research Science, Technology and Innovation.
The festival provides a comprehensive, multi-faceted, interactive programme made up of national and international keynote addresses, illustrated talks, workshops, short courses, competitions, demonstrations, displays, exhibitions, sports science events and field trips, to captivate and inspire budding youth scientists and their educators.
Speaking at the same occasion, NCRST chairperson André du Pisani said the objective of the festival is to create a deliberate and reflective space where scientists, technologists and innovators can interact and in this process make knowledge domains accessible to a variety of people.
Du Pisani stressed that the festival is largely about “an anthropology of knowledge” that recognises practice-based knowledge informed by ideas.
“The festival hopes to show and demonstrate that science, technology and innovation not only ground our daily lives, but that there is a need to build, over a longer period, a science culture,” he said.
More than 3 000 participants are attending the festival. A research symposium; scientific shows; interactive demonstrations; exhibitions; and competitions have been planned for the next few days.
The festival ends on Friday.