PSF has been entrusted mainly two functions one is research funding and other one is science promotion and popularization in the country. In this regard number of activities was initiated to develop science culture in the country. Under the action plan of the National Science Policy 1984 and STI Policy 2012 the Government has emphasized on strengthening and expansion of PSF programmes for popularization of science at Grassroots level. These programs are organized outside the formal education system particularly for the students to motivate them towards science education. PSF also seeks to collaborate with International Scientific organizations for the purpose.
For outreach of its activities PSF initiated Inquiry Based Science Education Programme and signed MoU with Academie Des Sciences, France for the improvement of teaching and learning sciences at Primary and Secondary levels through an inquiry-based approach to ensure dissemination of inquiry-based teaching at Primary and Elementary levels. Mr. Jean Salencon, President Academie Des Sciences, France and Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro Chairman PSF signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations in Paris on December 15, 2010.
The MOU aims at ensuring dissemination of Inquiry Based Science Education at Primary and Elementary levels in order to foster the capacity of both countries to acquire skills and other necessary elements for good understanding of nature and reality. It will also provide research support mechanism and popularize science in order to create science awareness at grassroots level.
This programme focuses on the teaching of science in primary schools to develop the questioning attitude of children during experiments. The primary objective of the activities is to increase society’s understanding of science. Inquiry-Based Science Education program, La main a la pate (hands-on) was launched in 1996 by French Academy of Sciences with the support of the National Institute for Pedagogical Research and the Ecole Normale Suparieure (Paris) and French Ministry of Education. In addition to France, the program has met a large interest out side the France. The experience and expertise of La main a la pate have been spread among more than 35 countries including China, Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, Morocco, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, and Vietnam. Recently, the inquiry-based learning approach has been started in Afghanistan, Iran, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, Togo and United States of America.
According to National Education Policy 1998, Pakistan has 145,960 primary and 24,590 high/higher secondary schools in the public sector. Unfortunately, none of them meets the standards of a modern school, either by way of learning skills/strategies or the program of studies. To address the various issues of our education system, La main a la pate (hands-on) approach can be adopted/ implemented in Pakistani schools. Some of PSF officers have got the opportunity to attend training programs of La main a la pate and visit its pilot centers in Paris.