Pular para o conteúdo principal
Available in English

Causes and consequences of low rates of specialisation in science and technology in CDCC member countries

Publication cover

Causes and consequences of low rates of specialisation in science and technology in CDCC member countries

Autor institucional: NU. CEPAL. Sede Subregional para el Caribe Descripción física: 50 páginas. Editorial: ECLAC, Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean Data: dezembro 2007 Signatura: LC/CAR/L.147


The importance of science and technology (S&T) in Small Island Developing States
(SIDS) is clearly articulated in Chapter XI, paragraphs 57, 58, 61 and 62 of the Mauritius
Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for Sustainable
Development of Small Island Developing States (MSI). At the regional level, the Heads of
Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) noted the challenge that CARICOM
member States face in competing in this new international economic environment in which the
impact of scientific and technological change has created a knowledge-based global economy.
Given the importance of S&T to development of Caribbean SIDS, the Economic
Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Subregional Headquarters for the
Caribbean embarked on a study to determine the causes and consequences of low rates of
specialisation in S&T with a view to making recommendations for development of strategies for
addressing these challenges. Data on postgraduate (Master of Science, Master of Philosophy and
Doctor of Philosophy) enrolment and graduation in agriculture, engineering and the sciences
from the three campuses of the University of the West Indies (UWI) as well as from the
University of Technology in Jamaica and the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) were
examined and analysed. Face-to-face interviews were also held with key personnel from these
institutions and a questionnaire was also served to individuals in key institutions. Results of the
study revealed that although the number of students enrolled in higher degree programmes has
increased in absolute terms, they are decreasing in relative terms. However, enrolment in
agriculture has indeed declined while enrolment rates in engineering, although increasing, were
not significantly high.
Market forces have proved to be a main reason for this trend while facilities for the
conduct and supervision of cutting-edge research, the disconnect between science and industry
and societal labelling of scientists as “misfits” are also contributing to the situation. This has
resulted in a reduced desire by students at all levels of the school system and faculty to be
involved in S&T; lack of innovation; a better staffed private, as compared with public, sector;
and poor remuneration in science-based employment. There also appears to be a gender bias in
enrolment with more males than females being enrolled in engineering while the opposite is
apparent in agriculture and the sciences. Recommendations for remedying this situation range
from increasing investment in S&T, creating linkages between science and industry as well as
with the international community, raising awareness of the value of S&T at all levels of the
education system to informing policy to stimulate the science – innovation interface so as to
promote intellectual property rights.