Islamabad - UNESCO has urged all the stakeholders to renew their commitment to create a scientifically literate knowledge-based society for all, with sustainable development as a top priority which is need of the hour especially in Pakistan.

 Vibeke Jensen, Director of UNESCO Office Islamabad, said this while speaking at the World Science Day seminar titled ‘Quality Science Education: Securing a Sustainable Future for all’ held here to commemorate the World Science Day. The seminar was organised by COMSATS and ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF), in collaboration with UNESCO office Islamabad on Thursday. Dr Ishfaq Ahmad, former advisor to PM on Science and Technology and founder of various scientific institutions of the country, was the chief guest at the event while over 100 science students, representatives of scientific institutions, researcher, scholars, academicians, as well as policy makers and members of the diplomatic community in Islamabad were present there.

The Director UNESCO emphasised that in order to have sustainable future, we must build inclusive and equitable knowledge societies for orienting scientific progress towards meeting the needs of the humankind.

In his address, Dr Ishfaq Ahmad recalled the efforts made by him to designate the World Science Day in the list of International Days observed by UN to highlight the significance of science for the betterment of society. He noted that while Pakistan, an agrarian economy, is confronted with huge water shortage, science and technology can provide means for addressing the vulnerability due to water scarcity as well as the challenges posed by global climate change.

Executive Director COMSATS Dr Imtinan Elahi Qureshi in his remarks on the occasion appreciated the life-long services of Dr Ishfaq Ahmed for science and technology. He introduced COMSATS as an intergovernmental forum dedicated to promoting scientific collaboration using the effective mechanism of South-South cooperation. He recognised scientific cooperation as the key to achieving sustainable development for the developing world. Touching upon the initiative taken by COMSATS for the promotion of quality education in the country, he noted that COMSATS CIIT was launched as a small project in 1998, which now is well recognized university with seven campuses and over 35,000 enrolled students.

Dr Qureshi noted that COMSATS has cooperation ties with UNESCO on multiple levels that resulted in establishing UNESCO Chair for knowledge for integrated water resources management at CIIT Wah campus. He assured that such cooperation from COMSATS will continue in the future as well.

Earlier, Dr Manzoor Hussain Soomro, President ECOSF, highlighted the importance of Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) at schools. He said that Science Education Programme of IAP is promoting inquiry based science education and the curricula around the world are being updated. He announced that ECOSF has embarked upon a programme for the promotion of IBSE in 10 ECO member countries in collaboration with Academies of Sciences and Ministries of Science and Education.

During the technical session of the seminar, talks were given by Dr Tariq Mahmood, Advisor HEC, Dr Faisal F. Khan, Director, Institute of Integrative Biology, CECOS University, Peshawar; Dr Fayyaz A. Faize, Assistant Professor CIIT, Islamabad and Salman Naveed Khan, Campaign Manager (Political Advocacy) of Alif Ailaan. One of the highlights of the event was the poster exhibition and competition. Over 40 posters, prepared by science students and researchers were presented, explicating the role of science for a progressive society in themes of agriculture, health, biosciences, nanotechnology and computational sciences.