The Role of Science and Technology in Our World Today – Essay

Essay on Science and Technology: In the pre-science era, besides the civilization that had developed on the Mediterranean shores, many parts of the world still remained very backward. Africa was still a dark continent. 

Australia, New Zealand, North America, and South America were not yet settled by the Europeans who, after 1500 migrated to the new lands in millions. Along with them, they went to these parts of the world with their science, culture, skill, and capital. 

Science, however, did not begin to make its impact on the world’s civilization earlier than 1600. It was in the 18th and 19th centuries that science brought many revolutionary changes into all fields of human endeavors. Today the world has been remarkably transformed by science.

Do We Really Need Science and Technology?

For our rapid industrial, commercial, and agricultural developments, people say every day that we need Science and Technology (the science that deals with industrial arts). To industrialize any country, we need scientists and technologists. 

For our agriculture, we cannot dispense with the tractors and caterpillar tractors and implements besides government agricultural scientists such as the agronomists who are crop breeders; plant pathologists who are crop doctors; entomologists who control the insect pests that ravage the crops. 

Soil chemists who help to conserve soil fertility and recommend suitable soils for different crops; agricultural engineers who know the best machines to be used on our farms and maintain the machines; experts in poultry, piggery, and, dairy; agricultural surveyors; extension workers who go to advise the farmers as to the best methods of farming they should adopt and veterinary scientists who are animal doctors. 

It is the duty of good government to make sure that the experts are available in the right quantity and quality. For our commerce, technical experts are wanted to improve our transport system and communications. 

At present we hear complaints often that the Posts and Telegraphs are inefficient. In many parts of the country, many roads are in bad conditions while some roads are closed to traffic during the rainy season. 

Also, more railways are wanted but the capital and the experts in railway building are not available unless they are imported from Europe and America. Furthermore, to improve our commerce, we need marketing experts and market research specialists.

Advantages of Science and Technology in Our Daily Life

The advantages of science and technology cannot be over-enumerated. Modern industries depend on it. An immediate result of applied science has been the making of goods cheaply and in great quantities, with a consequent increase in material comforts among the poorer sections of the people in all industrialized nations and among people in developing countries that are mainly agrarian. 

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Mechanization of the industry has facilitated mass production of goods and services besides the fact that it has reduced cost per unit, and it is the people that gain.

Applied science has promoted agriculture in many parts of the world. Mechanization on a grand scale has increased farm production considerably in places like North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, France, and Canada, just to mention a few places. 

Artificial fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, electricity, and scientific animal feeding and breading have made modern agriculture possible without which the teeming world population would have been starved of food and industries starved of raw materials. 

Also, applied Science has opened arid, swampy, and heavily forested lands to farming in many parts of the globe.

Modern forms of transport are direct products of science. These have conquered the battle of space and distance and made the world appear smaller than it is. Within sixteen hours you can now fly from Lagos to London and within another sixteen hours, you are back in Lagos. 

That is, within thirty-two hours, you cover a distance of more than 8,000 miles. Also, science has made it possible for modern forms of transport to promote commerce, industry, and agriculture. International and domestic trade depends on the transport system. 

Today we enjoy all the good things of life imported from industrialized nations while we can only export in exchange our farm, animal, forest, and mineral products. Our efficient transport system in the world today has facilitated this kind of transaction.

Science and technology have also revolutionized medicine and surgery. Before medical science was developed, both adult and infantile mortality rates were very high, diseases were rampant everywhere and the curative measures known then were primitive and not effective. 

Today, the situation has much improved, though medical practitioners are yet not sufficient in many places, especially in poor countries. Medical researches are constantly in progress in the university teaching hospitals and many of the results are just miracles. 

Siamese twins, through surgical operations, are separated these days. Defective kidneys are easily replaced and the patient can still live for some time. Tuberculosis is now curable. 

There are specialists in all branches of medicine that work day and night to relieve people of their pain, and bring new life and hope to the physically handicapped people.

One of the possibilities of science is the digitalization of education, music, domestic routine, statistics, and accounts in more advanced countries. In schools, colleges, and universities, examination papers are set and answer scripts are sometimes marked by artificial intelligence machines

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In many rich homes, we see home studios and television sets, besides things like the electric or gas cookers, washing machines, air conditioners, refrigerators, mechanical grinders, and a host of others. 

In modern offices, there are typewriters, duplicating machines, and others for adding, multiplying, and subtracting figures to ensure perfect accuracy and to save time. We can talk on the telephone to people in and outside the country today. 

Finally, we hear about space ships in European and American countries and the ambition of curious men in these lands to go to the moon.

Disadvantages of Science and Technology

Science is, however, harmful to mankind in some ways. Mass destruction of lives and properties and hence civilization which has taken so many centuries to build is of the excesses of applied science and technology. 

With atomic and nuclear bombs, mankind as a whole can be annihilated within an hour. In the last world war, millions were killed in the destructive war and the damage done to the world’s material resources was beyond calculation. 

To prevent another world war, the United Nations Organization was formed in 1945. It is the security council of this body that has been persuading the world powers not to plunge the world into another war. 

Why Can’t We Afford Science and Technology Now?

Most countries cannot easily afford science and technology which can transform their economy for several reasons. Besides the fact that we are poor, we are also wasteful. We spend too much on administration and on the wrong type of education which only makes our children social misfits, thugs, and vagabonds. To produce scientists and technologists is not only expensive but time-consuming. 

Young men and women in this country are easily attracted to study law, arts, economics, education, and basic sciences for their first degrees within three years after which they look for employment wherever they can get it. 

Even our governments whose policy was to lay more emphasis on the teaching of science and technology have not achieved much. Many young secondary schools are not grant-aided and they can therefore not afford to build science laboratories. 

Most of our science laboratories found in schools in this country are not well equipped because there is not enough money to buy the apparatuses. Very many schools cannot present candidates for Biology, Chemistry, and Physics as separate subjects. 

The best they can do is to prepare their students for W.A.S.C. examinations in General Science and Biology only. It is sad also that the science laboratories of many of the schools preparing school certificates for boys and girls for the Higher School Certificate and London G.C.E. “A” level in science subjects are poorly equipped too. 

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In these schools, students easily fail in their papers.  We rely very much on foreign scientists and technologists who come to our country to work on different development projects because we have not got our own men. 

You may not believe that many of the foreign experts we have in this country today from Europe and America are not paid by our Government. Rather they are paid by their various governments while we only provide them accommodation and transport. 

Under these arrangements, we receive foreign aid in form of technical assistance. A beggar has no choice”, we are told. If the foreign countries are not prepared to send their men here either for economic or political reasons, then we are handicapped in respect of our development schemes since we cannot get the skilled manpower we need or Cannot pay the personnel.

Is There Any Future for Science and Technology?

As regards the future, however, our consolation may lie in the fact that we shall learn the hard way since necessity is the mother of invention. We shall before very long be compelled to train our own men in the fields of science and technology both at home and abroad. 

Our faculties of engineering in our universities will be expanded. We can also be sure that many teacher training colleges will soon be closed down and converted to technical schools where our boys and girls can be trained as technicians. 

More government technical colleges and schools of technology for post-school certificate work will be established. We have started to realize that if we mean to develop this country, we shall not need a battalion of graduates in arts, economics, law education, sociology, political science, philosophy, and divinity, but a good number of doctors, pharmacists, laboratory technologists, agricultural specialists, engineers, geologists, industrial experts, machine designers, and manufacturers. 

In order that we may be able to afford the science and technology we need in this country, our public expenditure will have to be reviewed, technology should be increased if only extravagant allowances paid to the few at the top can be abolished. Until then we cannot become a developed nation.

Conclusion 

To conclude this essay on science and technology, we must admit that science and technology, whatever may be its demerits, have raised the level of the world’s civilization to where it is today. It is therefore a great blessing to mankind. For material progress and happiness, we cannot dispense with science and technology in the dynamic world in which we all live today.

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