New Democrats will put Science World back on the road

A New Democrat government will restore support for science literacy program for students and families across B.C.

VANCOUVER – Students and families across British Columbia will again experience Science World in their communities if New Democrats are elected this May, says New Democrat leader Adrian Dix.

Joined by Science World board chair Andrew Harries and science educators, Dix announced that a New Democrat government would restore provincial support for the B.C. Program for Awareness and Learning of Science (BC PALS). The popular science literacy program put Science World on the road, visiting students and families in different communities across B.C.

Last June the current Liberal government cancelled funding for the program.

“On a modest annual budget of one million dollars, the BC PALS program was successfully promoting science literacy, reaching an average of 190,000 children, parents, and teachers in approximately 150 communities a year, from Haida Gwaii, Invermere, and Duncan to Fort St. John. But last year, these students and families were left out, after the Liberal government, by withdrawing support for the program, pulled Science World off the road.

“This decision is yet another sign of how this government has lost its way. Three weeks of taxpayer-funded Liberal ads would have maintained this program at a time when it is critical to foster young peoples’ curiosity and mastery of science. The government’s own analysis confirms how B.C.’s future economic growth and standing in the knowledge based economy depends on it,” said Dix.

The BC PALS program has received praise from students, parents and teachers alike. Eighty-nine per cent of students who have participated in ‘Science World on the Road’ said it made them more interested in science. The B.C. Science Teachers Association is a strong advocate for the program. Credited for making Science World borderless, the program has visited remote and rural areas of the province, including 45 First Nations communities in the last three years alone.

The government’s own Labour Market Outlook highlights the need for science literacy programs that help students gain a solid background in science, math and technology. Nearly 50 of the occupations in B.C. facing the greatest skills shortage in the coming years require math and science proficiency at both the high school and post-secondary level. Fields related to natural and applied sciences and technology will experience significant job growth over this decade, generating 147,000 new positions.

“Fostering curiosity and understanding in science and technology among students now will go a long way to ensuring they are qualified for well paying, fulfilling jobs, and our economy has the skilled and knowledgeable workforce and entrepreneurs it requires,” said Dix.

Adrian Dix and B.C.’s New Democrats are promising change for the better, one practical step at a time.