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Qatar universities boost science-based programmes

Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar
Two Qatar Education City universities have joined forces to develop experimental and analytical skills to help students

Two Qatar Education City universities have joined efforts to develop experimental and analytical skills that will help students succeed in their science-based programmes.

The network of life science educators (LiScEN) established by Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar will empower primary and secondary school teachers to work in line with Qatar National Vision 2030 toward developing an infrastructure for cutting edge research in the life sciences for Qatar and the region, the universities said.

Since its inception in the spring, more than 50 science instructors from around the region have joined the network, learning new ways to incorporate into their curricula information about scientific discoveries and experimental design.

“In order to train a successful pool of Arab scientists, we need to start on the grassroots level and have our secondary school students begin to think deeply about the material at hand — they must ask, what is scientific inquiry?” Kenneth Hovis, assistant teaching professor of biology at Carnegie Mellon, said.

At its core, scientific inquiry seeks to obtain knowledge in the form of testable explanations that can predict the results of future experiments. The aim is to move from descriptive knowledge to explanatory knowledge.

“As university academics, it is our responsibility to support life sciences educators in primary and secondary schools as they promote scientific inquiry amongst the region’s youth — LiScEN gives us this opportunity,” Hovis said.

Earlier this year the two universities announced new collaborative undergraduate degrees in the biological sciences and computational biology. The core curriculum of the two programmes includes biology, physics, biochemistry, math and both organic and experimental organic chemistry.

Carnegie Mellon and Weill Cornell are partners in the QNV2030 to promote scientific education and research in the region and strengthen the pipeline of students who are trained to tackle some of today’s most important scientific questions, they said.

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