July 2, 2008

Science Centres to Receive an Extra GBP250,000


SCIENCE centres in Scotland are to receive additional funding of GBP250,000 this year to get more young people switched on to the world of physics, engineering and technology.

The funding will help the country's four science centres work with primary school teachers to improve their skills and help them inspire young people to become Scotland's scientists of the future.

Last month, the 2007 Scottish Survey of Achievement in Science highlighted that too few primary pupils were achieving expected levels in science in the classroom.

Fiona Hyslop, the Education Secretary, said the new funding - to be given to Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, the Glasgow Science Centre, Sensation in Dundee and Satrosphere in Aberdeen - would go some way to address the concerns.

"Scotland's economic future is increasingly dependent on science, engineering and technology. It is therefore important that all of our young people gain a good understanding of science and that they understand its importance in the 21st century, " she said.

"Our children must be inspired by the world of science and, in order for that to happen, they need the best teaching available."

Professor Anne Glover, Scottish Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, added: "I welcome this new funding which will enable the Scottish science centres to put their experience into play to help develop the skills and confidence of teachers.

"The new funding aligns well with other government support for informal science engagement, both at the science centres themselves and across Scotland. It will be another tool for developing teachers' ability to excite young people about science."

However, Jeremy Purvis, education spokesman for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said the government had moved after concerns raised by his party in the parliament.

"The government has been shamed into focusing on science centre funding by the Liberal Democrats, with Nicol Stephen raising this issue at First Minister's Questions in previous weeks, " he said.

"As with the debacle of university funding, an embarrassed Scottish Government has been forced to climb down and provide additional cash support when their planned budget cuts have been exposed.

"If the SNP are to be believed on their commitment to science centre funding, why are they only making this announcement now?"

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

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