PROFESSOR Sandro Keller, a lecturer at the University of Kaiserslautern, Germany, has called for training and retraining of Science journalists and scientists in order to bridge the gap that existed between science and the policy makers as well as the public especially in the developing countries including Nigeria.
The Vice Dean at Faculty of Biology, Keller made the appeal while delivering the 69th University of Ibadan Postgraduate School Interdisciplinary Research Discourse Tuesday evening in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.
Speaking on the topic, “The Role of Higher Education in the “Post-Factual Era”: Implications of Scientific Understanding in Today’s Society”, the University Don averred that the role of scientific community cannot be overemphasise, thus all efforts must be put in place for the policy makers and other stakeholders in these countries to train journalists who are the carrier of the message to the wider audience.
Identifying lack of public service staff with scientific experience as one of the prime problems which has contributed to the wide gap that existed between applications of scientific results in implementation of policies developing nations, he described mass media as a “Powerful influence on forming public opinion.
“The policy makers should learn how media work and know their constraints, scientific information reduced to a form prone to distortion, need training programs for science journalists”.
He continued, “learn to communicate effectively, lay public, professional responsibility, explain scientific topics in a simple way, no jargon not condescending, everyday analogies to demonstrate complicated concepts, need training programs for scientists, fluent and effective communication of science”.
Keller further recommended promotion of science education at all levels by encouraging students to think and question acquired results critically and independently.
He said policy makers should “Promote science education at all levels, Encourage students to think about and question acquired results critically and independently, Promote scientific approach in evaluating data, Promote willingness to adapt to new knowledge, if evidence warrants, Provide venues and occasions for constructive discussions and feedback.
Also, speaking on how to integrate science in public policy in Nigeria especially, Keller stressed that policy makers should together set policy goals and regulations that are scientifically justifiable, socially and politically acceptable” and not just thories that cannot stand the test of the time.
Expressing concerns over the gap that existed between the science and the policy makers, the University Don, Keller tasked scientific advisors to communicate with public and policy makers by stating clearly assumptions, limitations, (un)certainties underlying scientific evidence
The event, had in attendance, principal officers of the institution among whom were its Vice-Chancellor, Professor Idowu Olayinka who was represented by DVC (ADM) Professor Emilolorun Ayelari.
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