ECOSF organized a 5-day Capacity Building Workshop on IBSE under the framework of Belt and Road International Science Education Consortium (BRISEC)

A 5-days Capacity Building Workshop on Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) in Pakistan under the framework of Belt and Road International Science Education Consortium (BRISEC) was organized on 20-24 January 2020 at Sukkur Pakistan jointly by ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) and Sukkur IBA University (SIBAU) supported by Children and Youth Science Centre (CYSC) of China Association for Science and Technology (CAST).


The workshop was opened by Chairman Higher Education Commission of Pakistan Dr. Tariq Banuri. In his opening remarks, Dr. Banuri said that quality higher education plays an important role for the development of any nation and this is not possible without good quality education at school and college levels. He appreciated ECOSF and SIBAU for organizing such workshops to build capacity of teachers for providing science education through hands on which helps students to understand easily and better. He further said that ECO region has a tremendous potential to grow economically and socially. He also thanked the team from CYSC China for their partnership with ECOSF and SIBAU in Pakistan for promotion of science education.


Earlier, Vice Chancellor SIBAU Prof. Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui welcomed the distinguished guests from China and all over Pakistan. He emphasized that IBSE programme in schools of SIBAU was initiated in 2016 with the support of ECOSF. Since then, it is being successfully implemented in schools/colleges managed by SIBAU. He further said that steps are being taken to train more teachers on IBSE and the classes are being equipped with necessary materials.


President ECOSF Prof. Manzoor Soomro in his remarks said that the nations who invest in science, technology and innovation, would lead the rest of the world on technical and economical fronts. To achieve such a development potential, STEM education will be a key. Keeping in view the importance of STEM education, an IBSE programme in ECO region was launched in 2015 from Kazakhstan to build the capacity of teachers on STEM through IBSE approach of La main a la pate (LAMAP) - France. Later, the programme was expanded in Pakistan and Iran. The programme is being successfully run in Pakistan at the community colleges and schools of Sukkur IBA University, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and the Cantonment and Garrison Schools. The programme has also achieved a great success in Iran since its launch in January 2017.


This workshop was organized under the framework of Belt and Road International Coordinating Committee (BRISEC) formed in 2018 at Beijing. The BRISEC is a committee to oversee the programme and activities for promotion and implementation of science education among the countries along the belt and road. The secretariat of BRISEC is situated at offices of Children and Youth Science Center (CYSC) of CAST. Prof. Manzoor Soomro President ECOSF is the founding Vice President of the Committee for Capacity Building of Science Instructors/Teachers. A programme officer of CYSC Ms. Yang Feng also attended the workshop and introduced objectives and plans of the BRISEC. Among the future plans of the Committee, developing a virtual science museum, capacity building of science teachers on IBSE and a dynamic website are the main projects, she shared.


Purpose of the workshop was to review the IBSE activities carried out by the teachers of various schools trained during previous two workshops held in 2016 (Islamabad) and 2017 (SIBAU). In addition, enhancement of the capacity to address STEM education issues, strategies for innovation in educational practices and strategies for generalisation into educational systems was also one of the purposes. The workshop also focused especially on the continuous professional development of teachers as Master Trainers with reference to IBSE approach of LAMAP in their schools at primary and secondary level. There were 40 participants from the schools and colleges of SIBAU, PAEC Education System, Cantt-Garrison, Dawood Public School Karachi and Government School Mithi.


Following sessions were conducted during the workshop:

1. Climate Change Education

With a population of over 210 million, Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change in the world. The country is expected to face severe extreme climate events, such as increased variability of monsoons, receding glacial caps, heatwaves, floods and droughts. To address this mammoth challenge, there is an urgent need for the adaptive capacity of communities through adequate climate science education and enabling citizens to make informed decisions in the context of climate change.


However, it is unfortunate that currently Pakistan does not employ curriculum that highlights or focuses on science behind the changing climate and its impact at school levels. To fill this gap, ECOSF partnered with Children Youth Science Center (CYSC) of China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) to introduce a devoted training module for science teachers on climate science in Pakistan. In this regard, Dr. Ye Zhaoning, Expert Trainer and Science Education Researcher at South-East University at Nanjing, Jiangsu, China, supported by Engr. Khalil Raza of ECOSF, conducted a training session on scientific phenomenon behind changing climate.

The basic premise of this training was to engage participants to analyze the weather data and temperature profiles of various cities using Microsoft Excel. Participants were divided in several groups, which were required to compare the weather data of different geographic locations with respect to variations in the temperature profiles and form their own conclusions and discuss their results with their peers. Participants also took active part in the hands-on activity of developing the Green House to understand the impact of climate change. The idea of building Green House was to provide school teachers and subsequently the children, an opportunity to understand the broad concept of Green House effect and its importance in the global phenomenon of climate change.

2. Piloting of Fusion of Civilization Education Curriculum in Pakistan

ECOSF has been contributing towards the development of “Fusion of One Belt One Road (OBOR) Civilizations Curriculum Design (FoCEd), which is curriculum to promote science education as well as to inculcate social and moral values among young students. This program was launched by the Inter-Academy Partnership Science Education Programme (IAP SEP) in collaboration with ECO Science Foundation, ISTIC Malaysia, the China Association of Children’s Science Instructors (CACSI), Children and Youth Science Center of China Association of Science and Technology- CAST (CYSCC) under the mega initiative of China - One Belt One Road (OBOR).

The unique curriculum highlights the different aspects of ancient scientific discoveries along the Belt and Road countries, and projects the historic Golden Age of Islam and S&T heritage of the ECO Region. The core objective of development of this curriculum is to foster peace right at the beginning of young children by employing Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) approach among the countries that share a common heritage of the ancient Silk Road.


Under this initiative, ECOSF has collaborated with partners to develop curriculum modules with concentration on water resources, land silk road, maritime silk road and architecture. To test this curriculum module at a pilot scale and highlight the central importance of water in human lives, a hands-on activity to develop a water storage tank was demonstrate by the students of IBA Public School Sukkur that is currently being managed by Sukkur IBA University.

The interactive and inquiry based learning session was conducted by Ms. Saba Chachar, Science Teacher at IBA Public School Sukkur, who supervised the development of water storage tank by students while employing the IBSE methodology. The methodology focused on engaging students by inquiring fundamental concepts, common themes, forming questions and discussion around the need and development process of water storage tank. During the demonstration, it was quite visible that all students were enthralled and fascinated by the learning process, which is an essence of IBSE methodology.

Students were provided with some low cost materials to create a working prototype of water storage tank. The prototypes were tested by putting on them some weight to determine the effectiveness of these developed models. It is important mention here that this IBSE based activity of FoCED Curriculum was witnessed by all the participants of the IBSE Capacity Building Workshop. In the end, President ECOSF Prof Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro and Vice Chancellor SIBAU Prof. Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui appreciated the students and their teacher for their enthusiasm and encouraged them to continue to critically understand and acquire natural science rather than relying on rote learning.

3. Life Sciences: The topic of the session was to evaluate the information about power bracelet and energy drinks available in local market. The session was conducted by Mr. Zahid Hussain Mirani, Assistant Professor of IBACC – Dadu. During the session, the participants were tasked to evaluate the bracelets and energy drinks through IBSE methodology.

4. Codez 1,2,3: This session was conducted by Dr. Ajmal Sawand of SIBAU facilitated by Mr. Ghulam Abbas of ECOSF. During this session, the Codez 1,2,3… programme designed by LAMAP France was introduced. The programme has been designed for learning of robotics through simple methods. The unpluged activities were performed through computers.

5. Physical Sciences Component: It was carried out by the trainers of PAEC Schools led by Mr. Habibullah Mehtab, Associate Professor. In this session, the transmission of light was observed by the participants through hands-on activities and found various paths of traveling lights.

6. Chemical Sciences: In this session, Dr. Tassadaque Shah of SIBAU shared the importance of Chemistry in daily life and developed curiosity among the participants through chemical activities. Activities performed were based on “invisible ink”, “reaction between baking soda and vinegar”, and “making toothpaste”.


MoU Signing between ECOSF and SIBAU:

On the first day of the workshop January 20, 2020, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) and Sukkur IBA University (SIBAU) for capacity building and promotion of STEM education through Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) methodology in Pakistan, other countries of ECO region and beyond.


MoU signing was witnessed by the Chairman Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) – H.E. Dr. Tariq Banuri and officials from China Association for Science and Technology (CAST)- another international collaborator of ECOSF.

Hereunder are some glimpses of the hands on activities during the workshop

On the final day (24 Jan 2020), a small concluding ceremony was organized wherein; the Vice Chancellor of SIBAU distributed the certificates and shields among the participants and trainers. In his closing remarks, he said that it was pleasure to host all the guests and hoped that this kind of activities would be continued in future with ECOSF, not only in Pakistan but in other ECO countries.

Mr. Ghulam Abbas of ECOSF thanked the Vice Chancellor and other SIBAU colleagues for supporting ECOSF and organizing the workshop successfully.