Modern science needs traditional knowledge
SciDev.Net, 6 April 2011

LONDON, UK: In this article, Charles Dhewa argues that modern science cannot meet the demands of the developing world without harnessing indigenous knowledge. It is difficult to exaggerate the achievements of modern science and technology – but to tackle persisting poverty, disease and ecological imbalance in developing countries we also need to explore indigenous knowledge, which currently does not receive the attention it deserves. The world can benefit from the strengths of both conventional science and indigenous knowledge systems, he argues. Knowledge acquired through conventional science, which is usually closed and formal, can be scaled up through indigenous knowledge systems, which are open and informal. Conventional science formulates principles and theories that describe nature, whereas indigenous knowledge systems evolve values, beliefs, customs and ceremonies based on an understanding of nature and the universe. While conventional science relies on conceptualization, empirical experimentation and interpretation to generate and share knowledge, indigenous knowledge puts more emphasis on experience and practice. Unlike indigenous knowledge, conventional science works best when dealing with what is observable and measurable. But accepting the role of indigenous knowledge is essential so that we do not mislead ourselves into believing that only what is measurable is real, and only what is controllable is valuable. The new age of creativity and innovation driven by information and communication technology offers developing countries an opportunity to revitalize indigenous knowledge systems. Read the article …

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