Seismology in Schools Media Release

NIHERST has initiated a new science education programme, Seismology in Schools, targeting students from forms three to six. Aimed at fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for geophysics, the programme will introduce practical seismology activities that show the application of theories and principles taught in the physics, mathematics and geography secondary school curricula.

The institute, with the support of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) and the Ministry of Education (MOE), has partnered with leading local and international institutions to develop the initiative, viz. the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) at The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine, Imperial College London, Durham University, British Geological Survey (BGS), and University of Leicester.

The programme will be formally launched at an opening ceremony on the morning of Monday 7th April, 2014, at the Auditorium of the UWI School of Education. Dr. the Honourable Rupert Griffith, Minister of Science and Technology will deliver the feature address. There will also be a presentation by the key UK liaison for the programme, leading international geophysicist, Professor Emeritus Aftab Khan, from the University of Leicester. Prof. Khan is one of 17 Trinidad and Tobago scientists honoured at the NIHERST Awards for Excellence in Science and Technology in 2012.

The UK Seismology in Schools Programme started as an extra-curricular activity at the University of Leicester but developed nationally and moved to the BGS. There are now over 500 school physics departments in the programme, which is supported by local universities including Imperial College and Durham University who also have geological interests in the Caribbean. It has been highly successful in stimulating students to read physics and mathematics to A-level and thus qualify for University courses in Science and Engineering to meet manpower shortages. The plan is to have a similar programme in Trinidad starting with a pilot programme in which seismographs will be installed in 8 schools in T&T during the week. Teachers from the eight schools participating in the pilot initiative, as well as staff of SRC and NIHERST/NGC National Science Centre, where seismology stations will also be installed for the benefit of the public at large, will be trained in the use of the seismometers sponsored by NIHERST, Durham University and Imperial College. The schools network will be registered with the BGS international database, to enable their data to be uploaded and exchanged with the UK school network and many others, including the Caribbean, around the world.

NIHERST will coordinate the ongoing efforts of the collaborating agencies and, together with SRC and MOE, implement and maintain the programme locally. BGS, Imperial College, Durham University and University of Leicester are responsible for providing content, sourcing the equipment needed, providing training to local partners who would assist them in training the teachers during this pilot phase. They will also assist in maintaining networks among local students and other students globally who are members of the Seismology in Schools Programme, and help NIHERST, SRC and MOE to monitor, evaluate and improve the programme in the long term. The MOE will also provide technical advice to guide the infusion of the concepts and skills developed during teacher training into effective teaching and learning strategies as well as ensure alignment with national and regional education policies and curricular goals.

For further information about the Seismology in Schools Programme, please contact Ms. Joanne Chin Sang at 663-6130 Ext 2305/ or Marketing at 758-3381/


The National Institute of Higher Education Research Science and Technology (NIHERST) is a statutory body established in 1984 to promote science, technology and higher education in Trinidad and Tobago consistent with national development goals. Our current work focuses on the development of a more diversified, knowledge-driven economy, based on the ingenuity of our people and their ability to create, adapt and use science and technology for wealth generation and national development. Many of our programmes aim to strengthen the innovative, creative and entrepreneurial capabilities of the general population. We are also very engaged in research, such as in foresight and innovation, to support economic diversification; promoting innovation and the commercialization of technology in priority sectors; and building global partnerships.

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