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BIOLOGY OLYMPIADS
  
 
 
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سه‌شنبه 7 مهر‌ماه سال 1383
Encourage participation in biology Olympiad
Koh Kobayashi, professor of plant physiology at Teikyo Heisei University wrote in Asahi: September 23,2004 that
The 21st century is the age of biotechnology. Japan must endeavor to climb to the top in this field. For that reason, I believe, it is important to encourage young people on whom our future rests to dream that they, too, can challenge the world.
Just like the Olympics for athletes, the science Olympiads are designed to challenge high school students from around the globe to compete in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and other subjects.
The International Mathematical Olympiad has been held annually since 1959. Last year's event was hosted by Japan in Tokyo.
The year 2003 also marked Japan's first entry in the International Chemistry Olympiad, held in Athens. At this year's event in July in Kiel, Germany, the Japanese team won one gold and three bronze medals.
However, Japan has never taken part in the International Biology Olympiad. Why? Because of a lack of support and funding for this worthy goal.
Many high school students from across Asia, including Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, India and Iran, have won medals in this event. In particular, China and South Korea are regular gold medal winners.
Most Asian teams that take part in science Olympiads get financial backing from their governments, which consider these prestige events national projects.
Japan, in contrast, expects relevant academic societies to raise the bulk of the funds on their own, while the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology provides only small subsidies.
To enter the Olympiads, each country must hold examinations to select entrants. In Japan, the process costs between 15 million and 20 million yen. In both Mathematics and Chemistry Olympiads, most of the cost is covered by donations from related businesses. But in the case of biology, business interest remains low, and few companies make donations.
The 21st century is the age of biotechnology. Japan must endeavor to climb to the top in this field. For that reason, I believe, it is important to encourage young people on whom our future rests to dream that they, too, can challenge the world.
In the natural sciences, creative talent cannot be developed without conducting experiments. However, in Japanese senior high schools, greater importance is attached to book learning, with an emphasis on preparing students for university entrance examinations.
In the International Biology Olympiad, in addition to a paper test, students are required to conduct experiments. If intellectually motivated senior high school students hoping to enter the Olympiad begin to compete with each other by conducting experiments, it would also stimulate interest from teachers and fellow students.
I think of the science Olympiads as an investment in our future. As biologists and biology teachers, we must make greater efforts to ensure that senior high school students take part in the International Biology Olympiad. At the same time, I ask the government and businesses for their support. 

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