Tanzania: Dar Ready for Science TV Channel
The Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) is to introduce a television channel that highlights scientific innovations in the country. In its latest communication, the Commission has made a call for content providers to express interest in the initiative. The move is likely to increase local content. Local content is generally defined as programming which is produced under the creative control of nationals of the country.
The COSTECH director general, Dr Hassan Mshinda said there were lots of local scientific innovations that were not being highlighted, a situation that does not motivate the young generation to take the discipline.
He said the channel would have science, technology, innovation and education content. The major objective is to educate and inform the general public on topics related to science, technology, innovation, entrepreneur and education.
"Local technology should be developed and utilised. There is will to reignite the drive to science," he said.
A University of Dar es Salaam don, Dr Lenny Kasonga, said that attracting young students to scientific research has also become a topic of growing importance from the point of view of science.
He is of the view that such a channel would help the country highlight its own science and reduce local televisions from being adulterated by the influx of foreign programmes.
Dr Kasonga said many senior scientists and economists have been deploring the decreasing number of students choosing a career in the natural sciences.
He said they were becoming concerned about a potential bottleneck of scientists and engineers, which could hamper the growth of high-tech industries, particularly biotechnology and information technology.
"The issue of making science and research attractive to young people has sparked many a debate about the future of research and related technologies, "he said.
He said science and technology have an increasing influence on individuals and societies, it is equally important for young people to understand better the problems and challenges they create.
"Such content will also help to overcome the alienation from scientific research that is taking root in significant parts of society.
These problems--how to give young people a basic knowledge of science and technology and potentially awaken their interest in a research career-- should be aired on such a channel, " he said.
Tanzania became the first in East Africa to migrate to digital TV signal, having discontinued analogue transmission on December 31, 2012, becoming the only member of the East African Community (EAC) to adhere to the deadline for digital migration that had been agreed upon by members.
Source: Tanzania Daily News. 24 March 2014. BY ORTON KIISHWEKO.