Importance of Science and Technology for the Development of Country in 21st Century : Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. Technology is the sum of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Science and technology are key drivers to development of the country as technological and scientific revolutions underpin economic advances, improvements in health systems, education and infrastructure.
Science and technology is a topic that encompasses science and technology and the interactions between the two. Science may drive technological development by generating demand for new instruments to address a scientific question. Technology may drive scientific investigation by creating demand for technological improvements that can only be produced through research and by raising questions about the underlying principles that a new technology relies on.
Science is the foundation upon which technology relies upon and upon what our universe relies upon. Science is part of almost every aspect of our lives. Although we rarely think about it, science makes extraordinary things possible. Some developing countries have made important contributions to the development of science and technology in the past and some even served as the cradle of human civilization. But the flowering of science and technology that began in Europe in the 17th century was used to advantage by only a relatively small group of nations.
This situation created not only a difference in material aspects of cultures, but also a difference in the social climate of the two groups of countries. The practical use of science through technology created the climate for ever increasing emphasis on the pursuit of science and education in developed countries, where funding scientific enterprises is widely accepted as a vital and long-term investment.
Today, in developed countries basic and applied scientific research is an essential investment in the long-term welfare. Accelerating the rate of growth and rate of productivity can basically be accomplished by stimulating and supporting scientific education in universities. Inadequate scientific infrastructure is a critical factor which creates strong barriers to the path of advancement in developing countries.
Modern science permeates every aspect of economic and social life. For this reason education, research and technology as instruments for accelerating development should receive special attention in national planning in the developing countries. One of the major factors for marginal science and technology development in the most developing countries is the lack of planning and management of these activities.
Thus far, only a few developing countries have attempted to formulate and adopt a national policy. In order to make a realistic plan, not only a vision, but also scientific leadership, and investment in scientific enterprise both by government and private sectors are required. Short-term financial considerations in investment decisions that have been observed so far in developing countries will always be more costly and time consuming.
The institutions for scientific education and research oriented, professors, well-equipped laboratories, modern libraries and archives within these institutions, constitute the minimum requirements of a scientific infrastructure any developing country must provide for. In order to establish this infrastructure then, the support and funding for universities should be increased.
The science policy in a developing country should be determined in collaboration with the government, universities and industry. This collaboration should take into account technological needs, resources and practices. For this purpose, government efforts must be addressed to establish an industry-university cooperation to communicate technological advances to potential users.
The developing countries which plan to have a rapid economic growth, should first consider if they have provided ideal opportunities for their high-level scientists and nurtured their talents for the nations’ well-being. Furthermore, these countries must ensure the economic and social well-being of their scientist and provide an attractive and well equipped research environment to their migration to countries with enriched scientific and social opportunities.
Science and technology based industry should be identified as a major source of economic growth and a means of addressing important social problems as well. The technological revolutions of the 21st century are emerging from entirely new sectors based on micro-processors, tele-communications, bio-technology and nano-technology. For the promotion of technological advances, developing countries should invest in quality education for youth, continuous skills training for workers and managers and should ensure that knowledge is shared as widely as possible across society.
In conclusion, the social and economic growth of the developed countries is dependent on an essential emphasis on education, science, and technology. The basic problems of developing countries are the weak educational and scientific infrastructure, and a lack of appreciation of the importance of science as an essential ingredient of economical and social development. The developing countries should be committed to retaining high-level scientists, stimulating them, and providing funds and other support to encourage and maintain their productivity.
Gopal Bhandari is the Editor-in-Chief of Nepalpatra and the Founder and Chairperson of Research & Development Foundation.