Nov 2, 2010, 11:00 AM
As part of the activities marking the International Year of Astronomy, the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO yesterday October 8th 2009, presented prizes to winners of the essay competitions on International Year of Astronomy for Upper Basic,
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is a global effort initiated by the International Astronomical Union, in partnership with UNESCO.
The main objective of the competition is to increase the awareness of the public and the youths, in particular, on the significance and importance of astronomy in our lives.
Speaking at the award ceremony, the Secretary-General of the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO, Mrs Sukai Bojang affirmed that at the 33rd Session of the UNESCO General Conference in 2005, member states recommended that there was need to raise public awareness on the contributions of astronomy to universal knowledge, the basic sciences, philosophy, culture and sustainable development.
"On December 19, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy. UNESCO was designated as the lead UN-agency which would collaborate with the International Astronomical Union in the implementation of activities to mark the year," she said.
Mrs. Bojang pointed out that UNESCO received a total of 33 entries, of which two were void because there were no names for levels 1 and 2, and there were 7 submissions each.
She congratulated all those who joined the competition, noting that it was an exercise that did not only encourage critical thinking and creativity, but also improved the writing skills of students, among others.
Also speaking at the occasion, Maimuna Sidibeh, the Chairperson at the occasion said that the main objective of the competition is to increase the awareness of the public and the youths, in particular, on the significance and importance of astronomy in our lives.
According to her, the general comments on submissions had shown that generally the candidates understood the themes of different categories and in so doing, the scripts were well written, neatly presented, while others took the trouble of typing and binding their essays. This, she stated, had made the committee's task of selecting the winners very difficult.