Permanent Secretary of Education Mr Ioane Tiko opening the CSSP Awards.
Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Education, Heritage and Arts Mr Ioane Tiko officiated at the 2016 Chemical Society of the South Pacific (CSSP) Awards at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus on 1 October.
Since its inception in 1985, CSSP competitions have become very popular in secondary schools and this year, there was an overwhelming response of almost ten thousand (10,000) entrants in the Chemistry (Chem) Quiz competition alone. The four (4) competitions organised were Chem Battle, Chem Quiz, Titration and Bio-Battle.
A total of one hundred and fifty (150) schools registered for the four (4) competitions organised this year.
In his keynote address, Mr Tiko conveyed the Ministry of Education’s sincere gratitude in organising chemistry-related activities for secondary schools around the country.
These activities he said, remind each one of us of the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to humankind and to our daily living.
“I do hope that the CSSP will continue this good work in schools,” he stated.
Mr Tiko said the preliminary rounds of the Titration, Chem Knowledge Battle, and Bio-Battle competitions have allowed our secondary students to express their creativity.
“At this juncture, I would also like to acknowledge the CSSP for running competitions free of charge due to the effects of Tropical Cyclone Winston on schools in Fiji,” he noted.
“I do hope that someday CSSP will have some activities involving our primary school students. Once the students are exposed to these activities at an early age, they will begin to love science and it will not be seen as a difficult subject in secondary schools,” he added.
CSSP President Dr Francis Mani said, chemistry is often called the central science because of its multiple facets of applications in the community.
“With this realisation about the importance of chemistry in society, CSSP was founded in 1985 at USP to generate interest in chemistry amongst the high school students,” Dr Mani said.
“We achieve our aim through competitions in high schools, believing that the desire to win individual competitions would engage students more deeply with chemical concepts and would in turn help retaining students in science and particularly chemistry for further studies. We now see a slow but steady rise in our chemistry undergraduate numbers,” Dr Mani stated.
Seated L-R: CSSP President, Dr Francis Mani; Dean FSTE, Dr Anjeela Jokhan; Permanent Secretary of Education Mr Ioane Tiko and Mr Andrew, Marketing Manager, Vodafone.
Dr Mani encouraged students to develop critical thinking, the ability to question a scenario and apply knowledge.
He further emphasised that reading extensively and widely helps to facilitate critical thinking and critical analysis, to enhance the understanding of particular chemical concepts.
“Knowledge is indispensible and readily accessible these days with the availability of internet on your mobile phones and I pledge with all the students present here to spend time reading,” he noted.
This year all competitions were free of charge due to the fact that some schools were badly hit by Tropical Cyclone Winston.
Sponsors of the event were Vodafone Fiji, US Embassy, USP’s Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE), CDP and Rosy Hearts.
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