“While science in developing countries like ours, and policies adopted to achieve them, is a legitimate and useful inquiry, such exercise fails altogether when honest appraisal of facts is deliberately ignored.”
By Andemariam Gebremichael
Gebremichael, A., and Gebreamlak, O.
Orotta Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine, P. O. Box 10549, Asmara, Eritrea.
The Feature News article, “Eritrea’s shattered Science” (Nature 491, 24-26, 2012) and accompanying commentary (Nature 491, 8, 2012) on the state of science in Eritrea, demonstrates what happens when political activism obscures objectivity.
While science in developing countries like ours, and policies adopted to achieve them, is a legitimate and useful inquiry, such exercise fails altogether when honest appraisal of facts is deliberately ignored.
Eritrea’s strategy for science development has been anchored on the principle of self-reliance and sustainability. Such policy neither implies a stride to re-invent the wheel nor the shunning (as is often wrongly perceived) of help when needed. Rather, it’s a reflection of priorities placed to best promote the needs and interests of the society we serve. The merits of such policy ought to have been evaluated on tangible data rather than politically tainted views of self-exiled individuals.
Despite tremendous challenges, Eritrea has achieved a 4-fold increase in primary and secondary education, enrolled over 12,000 pupils at seven of its colleges and succeeded in graduating nearly 200 medical and dental students at the Orotta Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine, in just the past four years alone.
Contrary to the false claims in the article, our institutions enjoy productive collaboration with universities in Africa, Asia, and Europe, including long-standing relationships with Boston, Tufts, Yale and Harvard universities in the U S. These facts hardly speak of a shattered science education in Eritrea.
These being just a few samplings of the facts, we find it grossly unethical for the articles’ author to have expressed the desire to “let the world know that science is far more advanced in Eritrea than most people realize”Â (personal communication), but yet concludes of its demise in her published article.
A genuine inquiry would have been a worthy subject for the pages of Nature and the scientific community, and would also have greatly benefited those of us engaged in this endeavor.
Dean, Orotta Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine. (Corresponding Author)
Medical Director, Orotta Postgraduate Medical Education Program.