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NDP want to see Science World program return

Zoey enjoys learning about science during a visit to the Big Little Science Centre this week with her brother and grandparents.
February 15, 2013 - 5:28 PM

By Jennifer Stahn

The NDP Party of BC said it would like to see the Science World program reinstated, less than a year after the Liberal Party pulled the $1-million in funding necessary for the program to bring technology and science to communities around the province, party leader Adrian Dix said during a visit to Kamloops.

Starting in 2005 Science World, based out of Vancouver, was able to provide a traveling program thanks to funding provided through Gordon Campbell's Liberal Government. Visiting more than 190,000 participants in upwards of 170 communities across BC - including many First Nations communities - the program is credited with increasing students interest in science.

According to feedback received on the program, there was a 90 per cent approval rating among students and teachers, which is why Dix cannot understand why funding was cut to the program and why, as a party, he wants to see funding reinstated. “Let's give credit where credit's due, this program was funded by the Liberal government,” he said, but Dix does not think, given the response to the program, that cutting the funding was the thing to do.

Big Little Science Centre (BLSC) board member Eric Wiebe was on hand for the announcement in Kamloops today, Feb. 15, and as a member of one of only three science centres in the Interior – the other two are located in Prince George and Vernon – he endorses any funding that would help promote the sciences.

Wiebe noted that any major events, such as the meteoroid in Russia or the cruise ship left drifting without power this week - “makes people aware of the great need for technology and science.” Gord Stewart, the executive director for BLSC also sees the funding as a “good thing,” noting that Science World has the same premise of promoting science in the community. Stewart said that because both groups cover a lot of the same things it may be possible to divide up some of the activities and/or communities to ease the load and make the both programs more efficient.

BLSC has over 140 hands on stations and 10 different shows currently offered, in addition to clubs, camps, labs and sometimes traveling exhibits. The program, currently located on Holt Street at the former George Hilliard School, reaches approximately 18,000 people every year - mostly in the Kindergarten to Grade 7 age range – through both onsite and offsite programming.

Stewart hopes to see more programming throughout the province and hopes that maybe other districts could model programs after BLSC and it's successes. As long as kids are able to be exposed to and learn in a science environment they have choices, he said, and ultimately that is what Stewart hopes comes out of any science program – whether it be Big Little Science Centre or Science World.

Science World still offers traveling programs and was in Kamloops, and many other communities, earlier this week as part of Family Day activities.

To contact the reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca or call (250) 819-3723.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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