IAP-SEP Global Council Annual Meeting held online; President ECOSF attended as a Member
Annual Meeting of Global Council of InterAcademy Partnership – Science Education Programme (IAP-SEP) was scheduled to be held in Washington DC, USA and was to be hosted by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) on April 22, 2020. However, due to the global spread of pandemic of COVID-19 and resulting lockdowns and travel restriction; the meeting was held virtually on the same date at 12;00 hours UTC/GMT (14:00 hours Europe time. The meeting was coordinated and facilitated from the secretariat of IAP SEP based in TWAS/ICTP Trieste-Italy. The meeting was arranged online for the first time ever,
Agenda of the meeting was circulated among the Global Council (GC) Members and it was meant to review the progress on various activities carried out by the Regional Networks of IAP and the collaborating organizations as well as GC member since the August 2019 meeting held in Bangkok- Thailand. The meeting had to discuss the plans and the budgetary matters for 2020.
The meeting was chaired by Dr. Wafa Skalli of the National Academy of Sciences of Morocco as the current Chair of the Global Council and attended by 13 Members from Europe, Asia, Americas and Africa. Prof. Manzoor Soomro, President ECOSF also attended the meeting as its Member; so did the immediate past Chair, Dato Lee Yee Cheong of Malaysian Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Wafa welcomed all the participants and appreciated their online attendance of the meeting. Then the agenda was discussed item-wise and decided with consensus. Later, the members were invited to present the progress of their Networks and organizations.
Dato Ir. Lee Yee Cheong, immediate past Chair of IAP-SEP stressed that the UNESCO may be taken onboard to include the pandemic in the curriculums of the UN member countries which was supported by Prof. Soomro and other members.
Prof. Manzoor Soomro shared that ECOSF has been continuing capacity building activities on STEM education through Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) methodology in ECO region. A workshop for capacity building on STEM education through IBSE was organized at Suukur in Pakistan, wherein, the participants from various parts of Pakistan were trained. During the workshop, a session on climate change education was also organized in collaboration with Children and Youth Science Center of China under the framework of Belt and Road International Science Education Coordinating Committee (BRISECC). He further shared that the piloting of Curriculum of Fusion of Civilization Education (FoCEd) was also initiated in Pakistan. Dr. Soomro also requested for IAP-SEP support for an IBSE Capacity Building workshop in Tajikistan as requested by the President of Tajikistan Academy of Sciences to IAP and ECOSF. On which, Dr. Peter McGrawth from IAP Secretariat assured that budgetary matter are still under discussion.
Dr. Carol O’Donnell, Director of SSEC USA regretted that due to COVID-19 situation, the Smithsonian Science Education Center could not host the meeting in Washington. She shared that they are in close contact with the Government and are preparing material for health sector. In this context, they are in search of public health experts/doctors to help prepare the material.
During the meeting, it was also shared by the members from Africa that The Africa-European-Mediterranean Academies for Science Education (AEMASE) network has moved forward with plans to establish a series of Centres for Education in Science for the Africa-Mediterranean-Europe region (CESAME). In 2019, a teacher-training workshop and AEMASE Steering Committee meeting were held in Cape Town, South Africa.
The next meeting (2021) of the Global Council of IAP-SEP will be held in Washington, USA.