President ECOSF as an Invited Speaker at International Conference on “Improving the Learning of Biology and Related Experimental Sciences at the K-12 School Level” 14-15 April 2016 at Santiago, Chile

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International Conference for "Improving the Learning of Biology and Related Experimental Sciences at the K-12 School Level" was held at the University of Chile in Santiago Chile on 14-15 April 2016. The conference was organized by Latin American Network of Biological Sciences (RELAB) and the University of Chile. The conference was co-sponsored by the Science Education Program (SEP) of the Inter-Academy Partnership (IAP) – the Global Network of Science Academies, UNESCO/OREALC, International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB), ICGEB –Trieste Italy, Ministry of Education of Chile, MINREL-Chile, CNID-Chile, CONICYT-Chile and Fundación Allende Connelly. The conference aimed to gather information about the different initiatives that are being implemented in the different countries and regions of the world in the area of pre-university education in the experimental sciences for the purpose of promoting international collaboration and synergy and to achieve a higher degree of science literacy in all countries.

Motives of the conference were; to stimulate the design and performance of experiments that are relevant to some fundamental concepts in biology and other experimental sciences in all the levels of K-12 education; to request international experts in science education to provide their suggestions, evaluations and criticisms of the activities in science education being carried out in Chile and other Latin American countries; to stimulate the generation and introduction of teaching modules in the sciences that are relevant to the problems generated by climate change and deterioration of the environment.  A collection of these modules that is open to all interested parties should be encouraged; to demonstrate to the science and education communities the importance of working together to improve the quality of science education in the K-12 Levels. President ECOSF Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro who is member of the Global Council of IAP was also invited as speaker and sponsored by the organizers.

The Inauguration – Salon de Honor – commenced at Main Auditorium of the University of Chile on 14th April 2016. Welcome addresses were made by Chilean authorities and main international sponsors of the Conference.  Speakers of the conference included Ms. Adriana Delpiano, Minister of Education of Chile and authorities of sponsoring Institutions. Session 1 of the conference “The Experience of the RELAB Portable Lab. of Molecular Biology and Genomics in Learning Molecular Biology by Secondary School Students” was chaired by Ana Victoria Lizano (Costa Rica) and Oscar Grau (Argentina). Session 2 “Short presentations on the use of IBSE and hands on learning at primary and secondary school levels in different countries” was Chaired by Professor Rosa Devés, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs University of Chile. Part 1 of Session 3 addressed the extended presentations about large projects in science education chaired by Ms. Natalia Mackenzie Director of the EXPLORA Program of CONICYT-Chile. Part 2 of session 3 Chaired by Diputada Cristina Girardi, Member of the Education Committee of the Chamber of Deputies in the Chilean Congress in which a lecture was made by Professor Pierre Léna, French Academy of Sciences “La Main a la Patê" in France and beyond : past and future  ”. 1st day of the conference was concluded with the general discussion.

Conference sessions continued on 15th April 2016, where part 3 of Session 3 was chaired by Professor Juan Asenjo, Co-Chair of the Inter-American Network of Sciences Academies; The Global Programme of Science Education of the World Network of National Academies of Sciences (IAP). A lecture was given on “The Broad Strategy of the IAP SEP for the coming years” by Professor Dato Lee Yee Cheong, (Malaysia) Coordinator of Global Council of the Science Education Program of IAP.

Presentations from different regions, viz., Chile, Pakistan/ECO, China, Italy, Uganda, Indonesia, Thailand, were made by the eminent scientists of respective regions.  From Pakistan and ECO region Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro delivered a talk on “Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) in Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)”. In his presentation he introduced ECOSF, its aims and objectives and presented the comparative analysis on education statistics in Pakistan. He appraised the conference about the efforts of ECOSF and launching of IBSE in the ECO member countries. He also shared the strategic partnership of ECOSF with International organizations and institutions, such as; LAMAP, ISTIC, IAP-SEP, UNESCO and KISTEP Korea etc. Furthermore, he shared the further plans of for IBSE in Pakistan, China, Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Dr. Soomro in his presentation stressed upon involving parents & communities in IBSE/STEM education and forming alliances of scientists, artists, educationists, religious scholars, parents, teachers, Civil  Society, NGOs and media. “IBSE is a key to S&T Innovation led Economic Development and International Cooperation”, he emphasized.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile hosted a welcome reception in the honor of conference participants, wherein, the Ambassadors of other countries were also invited.

Dr. Soomro also visited a primary school in Santiago on 15 April. Where the method of teaching was "Learning by Doing". IBSE- LAMAP in Chile was introduced by Professor Jorge Allende, the principal organizer of the conference.

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