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Education Ministry, Universities sign MoU for Steam Pakistan Project

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: In a bid to improve learning outcomes in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) in middle and high schools, the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFEPT) signed MoUs with eight higher education institutes in Islamabad on Monday.

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“Universities, with their expertise and resources such as qualified faculty members, laboratories, maker spaces/studios, the larger academic ecosystem, and a significant geographic spread of student population present a unique opportunity that the Ministry is keen to leverage to advance STEAM education at the school level,” shared Ms. Naheed S. Durrani, Federal Secretary Education.

“Our aspiration is for 100,000 school children and 5,000 teachers to be directly impacted by this collaboration within 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 hosting summer camps and engineering admission preparation courses. 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 to target improvement in STEAM learning,” explained Additional Secretary, Mr. Mohyuddin Ahmad Wani.

“This framework is designed to ensure that our girls are not left behind in the pursuit of modern education,” he further added.

As a first step for the implementation of this framework, eight higher education institutes have inked MoUs with MoFEPT.

These include National Textile University, Faisalabad, NFC Institute of Engineering and Fertilizers 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 from the partner universities have welcomed this move as they believe it will provide a chance for the school students to be university-ready. In the long run, such programs are also likely to strengthen the universities’ outreach 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 providing support to the Federal Ministry of Education and Professional Training. As part of this support a policy unit, led by Pak Alliance for Science and Math (PAMS) has also been established in the Ministry to provide technical assistance to the government.

Malala Fund’s Pakistan Director, Javed Ahmed Malik on the occasion underlined the need to engage high schools with a range of players including industry leaders, universities, science promotion bodies as well as media and CSOs to help promote science education in the society.

“If provided, elements missing in high school education such as effective lab usage, remedial education, art, and sports have the potential to transform the learning experience of students, especially girls,” Javed concluded.

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