Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 May 2019

World Economic Forum: UAE government office debunks fake science news on social media

The Minister of State for Advanced Sciences says UAE pupils should be taught the process of science

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, speaks on a panel during the World Economic Forum. Wam
Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, speaks on a panel during the World Economic Forum. Wam

A UAE government office is debunking fake science news posted on social media, with the help of professionals.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Sarah Al Amiri, the Minister of State for Advanced Science, said the phrase "a scientist says" lends credence to fake news about scientific topics on social media, particularly messages that can be forwarded on.

To solve this, the minister said, her office translates scientific information into easily digestible social media posts.

"We've established a team that is dedicated to creating content for the public from science and that relieves and alleviates the burden from scientists," Ms Al Amiri said during the Bridging Science with Society panel.

She also said pupils in UAE's schools should be taught the process of science in the hopes of inspiring the next generation of scientists.

Ms Al Amiri said she tells scientists to "tell the story of science” but not through the scientific findings, rather through their personal stories of success through trial and error. The more personal approach, she said, has resonated well with pupils.

"Just knowing the challenges that they've [scientists] faced, that they've done a lot of mistakes, and failed a lot of times to get to a particular scientific finding shifted the perception of pupils on whether or not they can be scientists," she said.

Ms Al Amiri also spoke about how UAE schools require pupils to have immunisation certificates, when they enrol, to prove they have received their vaccinations. Parents wishing to opt their children out of booster vaccinations are sent letters explaining the dangers of not vaccinating children.

Hundreds of business and political leaders have gathered in Davos this week to discuss the state of the global economy at the annual World Economic Forum.

This year, the theme was Globalisation 4.0, which seeks to find solutions to global problems emerging as a result of human progress, including energy supply and reliance on fossil fuels.

This week, Ms Al Amiri gave a speech urging young Emiratis to embrace science as the key to the future of the country's prosperity.

Updated: January 26, 2019 02:31 PM