International Forum on Science Education, April 9, 2018
The International Forum on Science Education was held in Islamabad on 9 April 2018 in conjunction with the 2018 meeting of the Global Council of the InterAcademy Partnership Science Education Programme (IAP SEP) and a workshop on “Fusion of OBOR Civilizations School Curriculum Design” on 9-10 April 2018. The three events were mainly hosted by the ECO Science Foundation in strong partnership with Higher Education Commision (HEC) of Pakistan, Pakistan Academy of Sciences and Alif Ailaan. The International Forum was themed; “Quality Science Education at Schools- A Must for Quality Higher Education and Economic Development”. The Forum attracted more than 200 speakers including 20 international participants from 12 countries as well as some diplomats from Pakistan based Embassies of various countries. The International Forum engendered animated and constructive deliberations, culminating in the recomemdations and outcomes in an “Isalamabad Declaration”.
The Forum included a series of panel discussions on a number of thematic areas of science education and explored the ideas around the challenges, implementation of effective science teaching and policy measures by expert panelists on science education around the globe. The International Forum deliberated in depth the interaction of the digital & development revolution, non formal science education, science museums, women in science, role of media in promoting science education and linkages between science & sustainable development and the STEM education following IBSE methods at various levels from preschool through primary, secondary and tertiary/higher education education to lifelong learning. The International Forum concluded that stakeholders need to put in more efforts and beef up the Science, Technology and Innovation infrastructure and through their expert use of social media and mobile communication, IBSE/STEM savvy children and youth can be the agents of change to lead humanity towards sustainability.
Inaugural Session of the International Forum on Science Education
Dato Lee Yee Cheong, Chair Global Council InterAcademic Partnership on Science Education Programme from Malaysia was the Keynote Speaker. He delivered his keynote speech on “Digital Revolution, Development Revolution, Science Educaiton and Science Literacy”. Dato Lee highlighted the significance and the emerging role of digital technology in shaping the ongoing digital revolution around the globe and particulary in the developing world. He stressed for adopting the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects for children to ensure the sustained availability of human resources necessary for the digital revolution and the development revolution as well as equip the world with a rational and discerning citizenry to ensure global peace, harmony and prosperity. Dato Lee said that the world today is in the throe of the 4th Industrial Revolution which is caused by the nexus of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge; and technology breakthroughs. Dato Lee underlined that One Belt and One Road (OBOR) is the visionary initiative of china that will transform economic and social and sustainable development along the Belt and Road. He also emphasized to promote Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) in the region to prepare younger generations to be well equipped to respond to the global challenges in the Future.
The Chairman, Higher Education Commission, Professor Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad in his address, said that Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) are critical inputs for sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation. He underlined that the effective science education at school level is the fundamental and building block to produce quality higher education, which is critical to achieve sustainable economic development in Pakistan and the developing world. He signified the role of Higher Educaiton Commission in promoting STEM education in Pakistan. Prof. Mukhtar Ahmad urged the participants and stakeholders to use this Forum as a platform to discuss and synergize strengths to ensure and promote quality science education at school levels, which would be critical input to quality higher education in Pakistan. The Chairman HEC thanked the ECOSF and IAP SEP for organising the Forum at HEC campus and providing an opportunity for unversity teachers to understand the importance of Quality STEM Education at schools for a quality education at the universities. He also appreciated that Industry was invited to join in the forum.
Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro, President ECO Science Foundation introduced the International Forum to the audience. In his address, Prof. Soomro thanked all organizing partners for their contribution towards the successful co-organization of this Forum. He said this Forum is an ideal space to generate the debate on science education in Pakistan, sharing of global experiences and the understanding of new paths for improvement of human life, sustainable economic growth and policy making by employing effective science education approach such as the IBSE at all levels. He particularly emphasized on adopting the IBSE program in schools to provide quality input for Higher Education Sector in Pakistan and other ECO member states. Quality higher education can lead to promote Science, Technology and Innovation and Sustainable Economic Development in the ECO region, he added. “We can achieve global competitiveness only if we promote and produce qualified human resources and a STEM workforce to the global challenges of water, climate change, energy and food security for future generations”, he added.
Earlier, President Pakistan Academy of Sciences, Prof. Dr. Qasim Jan opened the Forum and welcomed all the international guests, delegates and local participants. He also spoke about the role of Pakistan Academy of Sciences for promotion science education in the national development of the country and endorsed the initiative of ECOSF for promotion of science education in Pakistan and neighbouring countries. He also appreciated the IAP SEP for promoting Science Education in Pakistan.
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