To create awareness and encourage students towards scientific education and research with a view of sharing ideas between the scientists and students, Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) in collaboration with UNESCO Islamabad and ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF, organized a Convention Of Scientists on the occasion of World Science Day 2015 in Islamabad under this year’s theme “Science for Sustainable Development”.
Officials and representatives of the Ministry of Science and Technology, PSF, ECOSF, UNESCO, and representatives from academia and research institutions in Pakistan attended the event.
Mr. Fazal Abbas Maken, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, who was the Chief Guest on this occasion, in his remarks highlighted the importance of science and technology and said that the objective of World Science Day was to renew the national, as well as the international commitment to use Science and technology for national development and achieving peace by appropriate use of its applications.
He underlined the importance of the theme of WSD-2015, as declared by UNESCO “Science for a Sustainable Future”, and mentioned that creating knowledge and its applications by using science helped us to find solutions to today’s acute economic, social and environmental challenges to achieve sustainable development. He said that in present age, “international scientific cooperation is essential, so we should initiate joint programs from international platforms, in which UNESCO can play a vital role”. He further described that sustainable development was probably the most daunting challenge that humanity had ever faced, and it is only possible by appropriate use of science. He added, “at all scales, the role of science and technology is crucial; scientific knowledge and appropriate technologies are centre of resolving the economic, social and environmental problems which had made the current development paths unsustainable.
He congratulated UNESCO, PSF and ECOSF for organizing such an important event. He also congratulated the prize winner students, assembled at PSF from all over the country.
In her remarks, Ms. Vibeke Jensen, Representative/Director UNESCO Islamabad said that the World Science Day for Peace and Development is an occasion for us to remember that the science should be at the service of humanity as a whole, and should contribute to providing everyone with a deeper understanding of this planet and its people. She said that science education and research capacity need to be built to allow countries to develop their own solutions to their specific problems. UNESCO provides countries with guidance in developing or revising their national STI policies and in strengthening national capacities in science education and research.
On this day, let’s commit to creating a scientifically literate, knowledge society for all, with sustainable development as a fore most priority.
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman PSF, in his welcome remarks said that PSF is playing a key role in promotion of science education at different levels in the country. It holds the honor of celebrating World Science Day every year to honor the efforts of Pakistani scientists and students working for the attainment of national goals, despite limited resources available to them, he added.
Dr. Ashraf informed the audience that PSF through its various programmes is striving to educate young children across the country about the basic scientific concepts and their applications. PSF is the only government organization in the country working for the dissemination of scientific knowledge in the rural areas of the country he said, adding that for this purpose, PSF operates through science caravans which are equipped with basic scientific gadgets. There are about seven science caravan centers across the country, which regularly organize science exhibitions in rural and remote areas of the country. Apart from providing scientific knowledge, the children are also engaged in different scientific activities and the relevant scientific material is also provided to them, the PSF Chairman mentioned.
He further added that PSF has a broad-spectrum, ranging from school education to strengthening of university laboratories. Research funded by PSF has produced many valuable results and many MS and PhD scholars have completed their degrees through these projects. Many laboratories working on key scientific issues are developed through PSF funded projects, he said. Recently, PSF has launched a Science Talent Farming Scheme for the students of secondary level. The Foundation aims to groom their abilities for becoming productive scientists, he maintained.
Dr. Ashraf also thanked UNESCO for its continuous support to PSF for the execution of different science promotion programmes and vowed to extend further cooperation to all stakeholders for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Speaking at the convention, Dr. Manzoor Soomro, President ECOSF, highlighted the aims and objectives of the regional organization. He said that ECOSF was created to promote science in Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) member countries and Pakistan is one of its important members. He stressed the need for promoting inquiry-based science education. He said that students should be encouraged to ask questions. Raising questions about different phenomenon are key to development of science, he maintained.
Eminent scientists of Pakistan, Prof. Dr. Aslam Baig, HI, SI, TI, National Centre for Physics and Dr. S.T.K Naeem , Consultant, COMSTECH also spoke on this occasion.
At the end of the event, PSF Gold Medals, certificates and cash prizes were distributed among the winner students of Inter-Board Competitions, Intel ISEF and Asian Science Camp-2015.