The Necessity of Promoting Science Education for Policy Makers to Ensure Sustainable Development in Bangladesh
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As civilization progresses, the contributions of science and technology to economic development are truly incredible. After World WarII, investment policies on science and technology, social welfare and national security were the foundations of tremendous economic growth in different countries all over the world. Moreover, heavy investments on science and education accelerated economic growth in all developed countries. Without proper investments in science and technology, Bangladesh–having insufficient natural resources and over 160 million people–cannot establish a high income economy, and may not even keep pace with neighboring countries like India. For promoting development in every sector of Bangladesh, science based education and research can be the alternative to traditional agriculture and low skilled and low paying employment in the garment industry. Bangladesh also suffers from general science illiteracy and in the broader sense, it has not promoted science based education policies. According to the United States National Center for Education Standards (1996), “Scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity.” Science literacy and reason based rational analysis lead to organized, systematic processing of information and inspire us to learn and solve problems we face today and we are going to face tomorrow. Policy makers (decision makers of a country who decide what is relevant) can play a vital role by taking policy decisions for overall development (social, political, cultural) in a scientific way. However, policy studies are more inclined toward Social Science (focus on behavior, attitudes, communities, institutions and so on). Unfortunately, policy makers of Bangladesh are sometimes unable to understand the fundamental needs of science education for sustainable development goals. Political leaders are obliged to give reasons for their policy choices in a democratic society like Bangladesh (policy makers offer reasons for their policy choice by addressing its goals and consequences). Social Science helps them in terms of rhetoric and communication skills. But it is not sufficient for tackling many problems, for instance, unplanned industrialization, global warming, atmospheric pollution, environmental degradation, species loss and so on. This requires more understanding of Science than Social Science. It is fairly obvious that evidence based research, policies, investigations and assumptions are more accurate rational, systematic and sustainable. It is true that as a developing country, there are many obstacles to implementing science education in a broad scale (lack of infrastructures, lack of qualified science teachers, inadequate laboratories and financial capabilities) along with policy maker’s unwillingness for sake of political interest. Sometimes they are more inclined to look at party interests rather than public interests. Science based policy is rational (separate from political interests) and it can ensure the reflection of public interests where politics may be emotional, dirty, messy, chaotic and biased. It is important for policy makers to know and understand this. After getting enough evidence based knowledge and, at the same time, trying to reduce constraints of politics, decision makers can make better reason-based policies for better sustainable, enlightened, progressive future by using accurate, rational, and systematic knowledge. Keywords:Science education, policy makers, sustainable development, politics, and education policy.
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