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Govt, academicians create forum on sciences, humanities

By Pascal Kwesiga, Raphael Bongomin

Added 17th March 2017 12:01 PM

The minister for science, technology and innovations, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, launched the forum on the Nexus of Arts, Sciences and Humanities (NASH) at Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) in Ntinda, a Kampala suburb, on Thursday.

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The minister for science, technology and innovations, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, launched the forum on the Nexus of Arts, Sciences and Humanities (NASH) at Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) in Ntinda, a Kampala suburb, on Thursday.

Minister for science, technology and innovations, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye. Photo/File

The Government and members of the academia have established a platform to harness the nexus between arts, humanities and science disciplines to obtain hybrid solutions to development challenges.

The minister for science, technology and innovations, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, launched the forum on the Nexus of Arts, Sciences and Humanities (NASH) at Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) in Ntinda, a Kampala suburb, on Thursday.

The NASH forum, which brings together, among others, members of the academia, Universities, government officials, private sector players and non-governmental organizations, is expected to leverage the unique strengths of arts, humanities and science disciplines to generate answers to some of the problems holding back development.

Championed by the Uganda National Academy of Sciences (UNAS), the NASH platform is also expected to offer opportunities for fostering innovations, deepen partnerships, and evidence-based interventions geared towards addressing the society’s needs.

Tumwesigye noted that scientists need people with backgrounds in humanities to promote certain scientific innovations.

“You need humanities to change people’s behaviours and attitudes. When you talk about biotechnology, people make a lot of noise, you need humanities to help you convince people to understand and embrace your innovations,” he added.

He revealed that efforts are underway to create a legal framework for UNAS so that the academy which was started by scientists get (legal) backing and can cooperate with Government on various scientific fronts.

“Today, the scientists cannot work in isolation. I urge you to bring to the forum fresh ideas and approach it with an open mind,” the minister stated.

The UNCST executive secretary, Dr. Peter Ndemere, said arts, humanities and sciences are already interlinked, and that the forum will deepen the linkages.

The UNAS president, Nelson Sewankambo, said they intend to use the forum to obtain support for scientific innovations from people with backgrounds in humanities.

“We want to work closely with people in arts and humanities to drive scientific innovations. Before you make a car, you need to know what the consumers want,” he added.

Dr. Rose Kirumira, the NASH co-chair, a visual artist at Makerere University, said the forum will also strengthen links between arts, humanities and sciences. “Humanities and Sciences have unique strengths that should be harnessed. But these strengths are not being harnessed. For example, if students know these strengths, one can decide to do Biology and Literature,” she added.

The forum is chaired by the Uganda National Examinations board chairperson, Prof.  Mary Okwakol.

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