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AUS holds colloquium on Physics Education in the UAE
The Physics Department at American University of Sharjah (AUS) organized a colloquium on the state of Physics Education in the UAE on Saturday, March 3, 2012 in the university's Main Building.
About fifty participants took part in the colloquium from many UAE institutions, including several universities, high schools, research institutions and textbook publishers.
Through a number of presentations, the participants reviewed the various physics programs which exist across the UAE, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Some of the high-school approaches and obstacles related to delivering physics knowledge and encouraging students to pursue careers in physics were also discussed.
In particular, the colloquium explored the reasons as to why few students are opting for a physics major at universities and efforts that have been made at various institutions of different levels to address this worrisome situation. Encouraging more students to choose physics is important considering that physics lies at the base of large swaths of 'research and development' efforts and the fact that the UAE is now embarking in major programs of nuclear and alternative energies, the development of a space program, the establishment of high-tech industries as well as the development of a knowledge-based economy and society.
"This gathering is of extraordinary importance," said Dr. Mark Rush, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
"The sciences are an integral part of secondary and post-secondary education. Yet, they, along with the arts and humanities, are suffering a downturn in interest in the UAE and across the globe. This does embody a crisis for education."
Reflecting further on the crisis that afflicts the sciences and humanities, Dr. Rush said, "In tough economic times, one certainly understands the desire of parents to ensure that their children graduate from college with marketable skills. But, skills are easily learned and quickly rendered obsolete by advances in technology and so forth. A complete, liberal education-one that includes the study of the arts, sciences, and humanities as well as pre-professional training, ensures that our children will be prepared to meet challenges and changes with confidence."
The AUS vice-provost of graduate studies and research and the dean of arts and sciences, who attended the colloquium, pledged continued support of such meetings and encouraged the involvement and support of other institutions.