Ministry of Education and Universities sign MoU for Steam Pakistan Project
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: In an effort to improve Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) learning outcomes in middle and high schools, the Federal Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoFEPT) has signed memorandums of understanding with eight tertiary institutions in Islamabad on Monday.
“Universities, with their expertise and resources such as qualified faculty, labs, creative spaces/studios, the broader academic ecosystem, and a significant geographic spread of the student population present a unique opportunity that the ministry is keen to leverage to advance STEAM education at the school level,” explained Ms. Naheed S. Durrani, Federal Secretary of Education.
“Our aspiration is that 100,000 schoolchildren and 5,000 teachers will be directly impacted by this collaboration in the first year of the partnership.” Several Pakistani universities already have interaction and outreach programs targeting schools. These range from adopting or running K-10 schools to running summer camps and prep courses for engineering admissions. However, there is no established framework for university-school collaborations. “It is for the first time in Pakistan that, in line with international best practices, a framework of university-school engagements has been developed with the specific objective of targeting the improvement of STEAM learning,” explained the secretary. additional, Mr. Mohyuddin Ahmad Wani.
“This framework is designed to ensure that our girls are not left behind in pursuit of a modern education,” he added.
As a first step in the implementation of this framework, eight higher education institutions have signed MoUs with MoFEPT.
These include National Textile University, Faisalabad, NFC Institute of Fertilizer Engineering and Research, Faisalabad, NFC Institute of Engineering and Technology, Multan, Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design , Lahore, Federal College of Education, Islamabad, Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, Quaid -e-Azam University, Islamabad, and National Skills University, Islamabad.
The Vice-Chancellors of the partner universities have welcomed the move, as they believe it will provide students with a chance to be college-ready. In the long term, these programs are also likely to strengthen the reach of universities and enrich their communities by attracting more students from diverse backgrounds to their STEAM programs.
This initiative is part of the STEAM Pakistan intervention for which Malala Fund is supporting the Federal Ministry of Education and Skills Training. As part of this support, a policy unit, led by the Pak Alliance for Science and Mathematics (PAMS), has also been established within the ministry to provide technical assistance to the government.
The Pakistani director of the Malala Fund, Javed Ahmed Malik, underlined on this occasion the need to engage high schools with a range of actors, including industry leaders, universities, science promotion organizations as well as media and CSOs, to help promote science education in society.
“If provided, missing elements in secondary education such as effective use of laboratories, remedial instruction, arts and sports have the potential to transform the learning experience of students, especially girls,” Javed concluded.