Young children in the emirate of Abu Dhabi can look forward to nine days of fun and experimentation in November at the first-ever Abu Dhabi Science Festival.
The festival, which will include fun activities to showcase the potential of science and technology at prominent venues like the Corniche, is aimed at popularising the two fields of study among young children, especially Emirati pupils, in the emirate. The festival is scheduled to run in the capital from November 18-26.
"Only 20 per cent of Emirati children currently choose to study science subjects at university, despite the fact that there is a great need for more engineers and science graduates within the emirate's workforce. This annual initiative will therefore serve to create interest about science and technology among young minds," Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), said at a press conference held to launch the event.
The festival will be held under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and will be organised by the Technology Development Committee (TDC) in association with Adec.
At the event, children will be able to interact with 150 informal science learning experiences that will demonstrate ideas in robotics, aeronautics, physics, biology, chemistry and archaeology. In addition, various interactive workshops and presentations will also be organised.
Targeted mainly at children between five to 15 years of age, the festival will see 500 UAE-based university students, known as ‘Science Communicators', conveying concepts to visitors. These communicators are being trained by experts associated with the long-standing Edinburgh International Science Festival.
"I have always enjoyed studying science, which is why I decided to pursue a related major at university. As a Science Communicator, I hope to show more young children how much fun it can be," said Mohammad Mira, a 19-year-old Emirati student in his second year of aviation studies at Abu Dhabi University.
So far, 15,000 students enrolled at 174 public and private schools in the emirate have signed up to participate in the Abu Dhabi festival. Field trips will be arranged for interested students enrolled at schools in Al Ain and the Western Region, Dr Khaili said.
Ahmad Saeed Al Khalili, director-general at the TDC, also told Gulf News that attendance will be free for all attendees.
Sideshow: 1001 inventions
1001 Inventions. Children will be introduced to the history of science in Muslim civilisations by the international touring exhibition, 1001 Inventions.
The exhibition, which has previously presented its displays at London, New York and Istanbul, will be inaugurating its first show in the UAE at the Abu Dhabi Corniche during the upcoming science festival.