World Science Day 2015 celebrated by ECOSF, UNESCO and PSF

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ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF), UNESCO Islamabad and Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) celebrated the World Science Day on 11 November 2015 at PSF to create awareness and encourage students towards scientific education and research with a view of sharing ideas between the scientists and students. In this context, various awareness raising activities supported by ECO Science Foundation were also organized by the PSF Science Caravans across the country.

Mr. Fazal Abbass Maken, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology who was the chief guest said that World Science Day is aimed at renewing national and international commitment to use science and technology for national development and achieving peace by appropriate use of its applications.

Speaking at the convention, President, Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Science Foundation Dr. Manzoor Soomro said that this year's World Science Day has a special importance for the world for two reasons. One, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2016-2030 have been approved by the UN General Assembly over six weeks ago; and two, the UNESCO Report 2015 has been launched just yesterday in UNESCO Headquarters Paris during the on-going 38th Session of UNESCO General Conference. It is pertinent to note that 10 November was chosen to launch the UNESCO Report to commemorate the World Science Day in a befitting manner. Dr. Soomro emphasized on rigorously pursuing the SDG-4 "Quality Education and Life long Learning for all". He pointed out that recent report by Alif Ailan show that out of the total 52.91 million school age children (5-16 years age) in Pakistan, over 25 million children remain out of school, with greater number of girls! He said that, those that go to schools, are faced with dismal quality of education, and if that situation continues, achieving the SDG-4 for Pakistan during the next 15 years, seems impossible!

Dr. Soomro further stressed that education methodology was another major issue worldwide and Pakistan should emphasize on training and motivation of teachers; they should be trained through hands on methodology with focus on "inquiry" and "activity based learning". Furthermore, he said that the SDG-5 "gender equality and empowerment of women and girls" should be considered and declared as an over-aching for all the 17 SDGs; that way the chances of achieving this goal would be greater. He said that ECO Science Foundation in collaboration with UNESCO and national organizations in the 10 ECO member countries, is making all out efforts to promote science, research and education; and hoped that the collaboration will further be strengthened in future.

In her remarks, Ms. Vibeke Jensen, Representative/Director UNESCO Pakistan said that World Science Day for Peace and Development is an occasion to remember that the sciences 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 Science Technology and Innovation (STI) policies and in strengthening national capacities in science education and research.

Earlier, Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation in his welcome remarks thanked all the distinguished guests and extended his gratitude to UNESCO for its continuous support and execution of science programmes that would help in the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Chairman PSF also thanked ECOSF and its President for supporting and partnering with PSF for the event. He said that PSF is playing a key role in promotion of science education in the country such as annual celebration of World Science Day, dissemination of scientific knowledge in the rural areas through its seven science caravans centers equipped with basic scientific gadgets. He said that the Foundation with its broad mandate, including school education and research programmes has produced valuable results and MS and PhD scholars.

Eminent scientists of Pakistan, Prof. Dr. Aslam Baig, HI, SI, TI, and Professor at the National Centre for Physics in his talk said that the prerequisite for development and prosperity is huge investment in Science and Technology which will enable us to enhance the skilled Human Resource Development as the future of Pakistan lies on the knowledge based economy. His talk focused on the 2015 as the Year of Light.

Dr. S.T.K. Naeem, Consultant at COMSTECH expressed that science is the greatest glory for mankind. It is the search for answers to questions about the nature. She said that science is important equally for all the countries of the world. She emphasized on more investment in research and development (R&D) which is the key to economic growth. The institutions should be strengthened and right environment should be provided for the improvement of science in the country.

At the end of the event, PSF Gold Medals, certificates and cash prizes co-sponsored by PSF and ECOSF were distributed among the winner students of Inter-Board Competitions, Intel ISEF while the Asian Science Camp-2015 were awarded to outstanding students- the young scientists.

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