Capacity Building Workshop of Master Trainers on Inquiry Based Science Education Organized

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A capacity building workshop of Master Trainers on Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) was jointly organized by ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) and Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) in collaboration with La main a la pate Foundation (LAMAP) and French Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan from 5-9 September 2016. A good number of 42 participants hailing from all over Pakistan, i.e., Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) School System, Sukkur Institute of Business Administration (Sukkur IBA) School System, Cantt/Garrison School System, Educational Training Institutes of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan, and the coordinators of ECOSF, PSF and Pakistan Science Club (Karachi) participated in the workshop.

The purpose of this national workshop was to build the capacity of participants to recognize the philosophy of IBSE pedagogy for teaching of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and mathematics) subjects; experience the process of inquiry-based science teaching and learning, problem solving skills through hands-on, minds-on activities; gain insights into activities that not only can encourage and motivate students in science through the hands-on, minds-on activities but also convince decision makers to pursue Inquiry based approach for education; and decide on strategic steps for implementation of IBSE – based STEM in Pakistan.

The workshop was opened by the Federal Secretary of Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training of Pakistan H.E. Mr. Muhammad Humayun. In his remarks, the Federal Secretary appreciated the organizers for organizing very important workshop in wake of the science education of the country. The Federal Secretary liked IBSE programme and emphasized that more workshops of this kind be organized frequently so that the roots of science education may grow stronger and stronger. He also offered the facilities of his Ministry to be used for any IBSE capacity building activity in future.

Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro, President ECOSF, in his key note presentation, highlighted the importance of the workshop and explained the IBSE approach of LAMAP initiated by the trio of LAMAP founders; Prof. George Charpak (Nobel Laureate), Prof. Yves Querre and Prof. Pierre Lena in 1996. After the success in France, the programme was expanded to other parts of the world. Prof. Soomro said that in Pakistan, the Programme was initiated by PSF under his Chairmanship in 2010. Prof. Soomro further elaborated that critical thinking that comes with science education is vital in training the mind, understanding the world, making choices and solving problems. The concept of "inquiry" fosters the understanding of technological innovations, which need to be inculcated among children at primary & secondary school levels. Thus, IBSE approach is used for teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects at schools with the objective to instill the willingness of children to explore new ideas through evidence and logic, he said. He further said that IBSE develops understanding of different science concepts through children's own physical and mental activity making use of their own skills of observation, questions, planning and conducting investigations, reviewing evidence, drawing conclusions, communicating and discussing results. Therefore, IBSE approach is a critical and essential step to ensure sustainable supply of young talent for linking advance research with sustainable industrial and economic development, concluded Dr. Soomro. He hoped that in the five day workshop, the participants will learn new things related to critical thinking & inquiry through presentations and hands-on activities and same techniques will be imparted among other teachers for ultimate audience i.e., the students/children.

Earlier, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman PSF welcomed all the distinguished guests including resource persons from LAMAP and participants from throughout Pakistan. He wished that the resource persons will engage the participants in various activities in five day workshop.

During the opening session, Mr. OLIVIER from the Embassy of France also spoke about the LAMAP and their cooperation with ECOSF and PSF in Pakistan. In the subsequent 1st  technical session, Dr. Bulent CAVAS, Professor of Science Education Turkey, the Assistant Country Director of United Nations Development Programme Mr. Shakeel Ahmed, Director of an Education Campaign- Alif Ailan, Mr. Mosharraf Zaidi and Representative of British Council Pakistan in Pakistan also made their remarks. The Resource Persons of LAMAP Mr. Gilles CAPPE gave the over view of LAMAP Foundation and its programmes.

After the formal opening of the workshop, the technical sessions were conducted by two Resource Persons from LAMAP viz., Mr. Gilles CAPPE and Philippe Delforge at the Auditorium of PSF where the resource persons deliberated on various topics related to the critical thinking and inquiry. It is pertinent to mention that the workshop was meant for the trainers of teachers of primary level students and accordingly, the participants were invited as Master Trainers who will train the primary teachers in their school systems and ultimately, the trained teachers will impart IBSE techniques among the primary school students.

The intensive technical sessions were based on the presentations, hands-on training, experiments/practicals. Following topics were covered during the five day workshop:

  1. Scientific approach and the role of the teacher in the process of learning.
  2. How to put young students in situation.
  3. Activities to discover the ecosystem + cleaning dirty water.
  4. Hands on Activities on:
  • Biodiversity situation.
  • Climate changes and Water rising.
  1. Modeling in science: Day and Night.
  2. Day length during the year and during given date.
  3. Multidisciplinary and sciences :LAMAP tools.
  4. Technological approach, scientific approach.
  5. Preparation of a training sequence by the participants.
  6. Make the others live the training sequence.
  7. Analyzing a training sequence, Speak, read, write in sciences, the science notebook.
  8. Evaluation in sciences.
  9. Workshop about the future of the project: role of local trainers/Lamap, common work

The activities on the above topics were performed individually and in groups. Different groups were formulated on daily basis to better understand the topics and share their ideas with more and more participants. The Resource Persons beautifully conducted all the sessions and involvement of the participants was very obvious from their behavior and feedback.

On the last day of the workshop, a closing ceremony was arranged to formally end the workshop. The Chief Guest of the Closing Ceremony was Federal Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology H.E. Mr. Fazal Abbas Makan. The Federal Secretary in his speech highlighted the history of "inquiry" and its place in Islam. He also appreciated President ECOSF for developing the collaboration with French experts and assured of his consistent cooperation and support. In his remarks, the Federal Secretary appreciated ECOSF and PSF for organizing such a result-oriented workshop on IBSE and assured the maximum possible support of his ministry for this noble cause. He further said that the concept of IBSE itself is very heart-touching and future of children if followed properly. He shown his personal attraction towards IBSE. He also mentioned that the IBSE programme of LAMAP was initiated by Prof. Dr. Manzoor Soomro in Pakistan in the capacity of Chairman PSF in 2010, hence, he must be appreciated.

The Cultural Counselor of French Embassy in Islamabad Mr. Andre de BUSSY was also present in the ceremony. Mr. Andre also made remarks on behalf of his Embassy and said that this kind of workshops may be continued to be organized in future also. He also shared that a proposal is under way to establish French-Pakistan Science Centre in Pakistan.

During the closing ceremony, the participants also shared their experiences about the whole activities of workshop and expressed it as an amazing workshop with totally based on new strategies and techniques which will definitely benefit the science teachers and pupils if properly implemented.

At the end, President ECOSF thanked Resource Persons and Participants for creating such a pragmatic environment during the whole workshop. He said that organizing such kind of workshop is not possible without the dedication of all persons involved in it especially the administrative/management support which include formulation of programmes, hall management, provision of food, transport, etc. Dr. Soomro hoped that all the participating educational institutions will implement the IBSE activity in their areas under the patronage of ECOSF and PSF and share the updates with ECOSF in future.

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