Despite science being perceived by many to be a difficult subject, it is still at the centre of human development and progression in both economic and technological matters. Science and national progress are causally linked. Science education therefore should be assigned the social role of bringing progress to society. The need for science education to equip individuals with skills necessary to make better scientifically informed decisions in matters both personal and national cannot be overemphasized. The central question science educators are grappling with is; how should science education help us in decisions that are at the interplay between science and society – socioscientific issues as these issues have come to be called? International bodies like WHO are taking interest on what effects these socioscientific issues have on the general livelihood of citizens of the world. WHO’s assessment of the global disease burden attributable to UV radiation is one such an example. The increased incidence of these issues in modern society dictates that something must be done about it.
This paper looked into Botswana student’s ability to reason through and make sense of a ‘science brief’ based on a socioscientific issue, namely ultraviolet radiation and its effect on the human skin. A stratified random sample of students across the educational landscape in Botswana was taken. Results show that students’ knowledge on UVR is limited, at least to the expectations of the researcher. It is recommended that science education curriculum be reformed, with particular emphasis on teaching approaches, to target these issues, thus allowing individual learners to benefit from the social development of science.
|Keywords:||Science Education, Socioscientific Issues, Classroom Learning, Sciene Education Reform|
Lecturer, Department of Mathematics and Science Education, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
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