ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has said that Pakistan required utmost efforts to join the global race of technology, which would also guarantee the future national economic development.
Addressing the launching ceremony of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) pilot project, the president said the children’s motivation towards scientific education would create actual wealth for the country, which would later support the industry and IT sector, too.
Under the umbrella of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Pakistan Science Foundation is executing the STEM’s first phase project under the Public Sector Development Programme. The project is initially being launched in 50 schools across the country, selected based on their excellent academic results during the last three years.
Calling STEM education “very dear” to him, the president referred to a survey by the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), which showed that the interest of Pakistani children towards STEM was comparatively low in the region.
Quoting a study by the University of Sargodha, the president said parents, visiting museum and science festivals, as well as encouragement by the teachers played a key role in motivating the children towards STEM education.
China produced around 4.7 million STEM graduates annually, India 2.6 million and Iran 0.35 million, while Pakistan would be far behind in the list, he added.
Calling the launching of STEM as a timely step, President Alvi called for adopting the required factors for the promotion of STEM education, which provided the basis for development in organised societies.
He also hinted at visiting the STEM schools sometime, adding that it was inevitable to uplift the people to compete the world.
Minister for Science and Technology Senator Shibli Faraz said that the programme would be spread throughout the country. The selected schools will become hubs of STEM education and will serve as model schools for all schools of adjoining areas.
The programme also features training of teachers and preparation of master trainers. Moreover, a monitoring mechanism will also be in place to examine the productivity of the programme, he added.
The STEM FABLABS will be established in all STEM-designated schools, which would have state-of-the-art research facilities and will also provide latest resources for digital fabrication.
Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said that the Education Ministry has launched a pilot programme in 35 educational institutes of Islamabad, which would also benefit the Pakistan Science Foundation in STEM initiative.
STEM was also part of the uniform education curriculum, he said, adding that the teachers’ training was of high importance to achieve the desired results.
Pakistan Science Foundation chairman Dr Shahid Baig also addressed the event, attended by provincial ministers, diplomats and principals of the STEM-designated schools.