09.11.2010 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

UNESCO Science Report 2010 shows Nepalese Government’s focus on science research but stresses major challenges at universities

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The Government of Nepal has enacted major plans to strengthen scientific research and development in order to bolster economic and social progress, but the country still faces significant challenges in science and technology, including improving science and technology education at universities, according to the UNESCO Science Report 2010.

The Report will be launched worldwide on 10 November to mark World Science Day for Peace and Development 2010. Assessing the status of science worldwide, it also includes an analysis of the science sector in Nepal, looking at trends and developments that have shaped scientific research, innovation and higher education here over the past five years. 

The report shows that the Government of Nepal has increased its focus on scientific research and development (R&D) in recent years recognizing its importance in helping relieve poverty. The report stresses the high priority given to R&D in two of Nepal’s major development plans: the Tenth Plan (2002-2007) for poverty reduction and the Three Year Interim Development Plan (2007- 2010) acknowledging the potential contribution by science and technology (S&T) to alleviate poverty. 

It also describes private sector involvement and capacity building of national institutions as primary strategies for improving S&T in Nepal and shows how the private sector has contributed to S&T development, particularly by building technological capability in the energy sector. According to the Report, 170 organizations are involved in S&T in Nepal, most of which are overseen by government ministries. 

The Report shows, however, that more investment is still required in public higher S&T education. For example, state-run Tribhuvan University which produces more than 75% of S&T personnel and nearly 40% of the country’s master's and doctoral degrees in science and technology, lacks of adequate investment resulting inter alia in poor facilities on most science campuses. The Report also says that the academic programmes of the University are not sufficiently diversified. 

Axel Plathe, Head of the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu says “More investment in Nepal's future scientists is needed if the country wants to effectively use science for development and avoid that too many students still leave the country for scientific education abroad”. 

More broadly, the UNESCO Science Report shows a shift in the global influence of countries participating in science and technology development and depicts a rapidly changing landscape with emerging countries clearly gaining strength. In this regard, Asia has become a global player in the field of S&T. Led mainly by China, India and the Republic of Korea, Asia’s share of global gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) increased from 27% to 32% between 2002 and 2007. As another example, the percentage of the world's scientific researchers based in developing countries increased from 30% in 2002 to 38% in 2007. Two-thirds of this increase was due to China, which has with its more than 1.4 million researchers almost overtaken the USA in the number science researchers employed. 

The Report says that technological progress is allowing emerging and developing countries to produce more knowledge and participate more actively in international networks and research. 

This year’s celebration with the theme “Science for the rapprochement of peoples and cultures” marks the 11th World Science Day. “Harnessing the power of science to bring people and cultures together, to make the most of the great diversity of humanity, and to foster peaceful development lies at the core of UNESCO’s mandate," UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said. 

The UNESCO Kathmandu Office along with the Nepal National Commission for UNESCO, the National Academy of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Science and Technology, will launch the report later in November presenting its highlights and main findings and hosting a discussion on them. Details on the programme, exact time and location will be released soon. 

For more information, please contact: 

Ms. Katrin Mader 
UNESCO Office in Kathmandu 
Email: k.mader@unesco.org 
Tel.: +977-1-5554396/ 5554769 

To download full UNESCO World Science Report 20101 in pdf- format, please visit: 
http://www.unesco.org/science/psd/publications/sc_rp_10.shtml

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Press release UNESCO/KAT 13/10




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