Quality education is the single most important pillar that determines progress. Countries that have realized that they need to invest in their most precious resource, their children, through a high quality education system, science, technology and innovation have marched forward, leaving others behind.
In this strange and wonderful world of discovery, science and technology are impacting our lives in a multitude of ways, in every sphere of human endeavor. The advent of nanotechnology has resulted in the development of lighter and stronger materials, better slow-release pharmaceuticals, water filtration devices, and new applications in electronics. Researches in the field of biotechnology have led to improved crops with higher yields and greater resistance to disease. Developments in stem cell technologies promise to change the face of medicine over the next decade. Rapid advances in machine intelligence and robotics are reshaping the manner in which wars will be fought in the future. Such advances are only possible if our schools, colleges and universities provide the highest standards of teaching, curriculum and leadership to harness the creative potential of our youth.
I am delighted to learn that The Science School has been established to provide education and training of standards that will meet the demands of the highly competitive global environment. It is vitally important that our students should be exposed to a system of education that inculcates in them a problem solving approach while at the same time emphasizes discipline and character development so that they can serve this great nation with sincerity and integrity.
It gives me immense pleasure to congratulate the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) for taking up yet another initiative which has a potential of further improving the quality of scientific manpower working in the various organizations under its umbrella. The reason SPD has been so successful is because the scientists and engineers working in these scientific organizations are capable of solving complex problems. SPD has encouraged its scientific organizations to improve their training programs on a continuous basis. Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS) is ranked as the number one technical university in Pakistan by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). Similarly the Institute of Space Technology (IST) has been ranked number five by HEC. This has been possible because of continued and dedicated support provided by the SPD.
Now Strategic Plans Division has taken a novel and visionary step by bringing Science to students at the elementary school level by establishing the most appropriately named “The Science School”. Through a specially designed Science based Curriculum, this new initiative will expose bright minds, at an early age, to the mysteries of science, and build a desire in the students to solve these mysteries. Eventually, The Science School will grow to A level education and link up with PIEAS, IST, Karachi Institute of Power Engineering (KINPOE), etc. The Strategic Organizations and the National Center for Physics (NCP) must contribute to get the desired results from The Science School. The School will motivate students and fill them with a desire to seek out the “hows” and “whys” of things around them. The emphasis should always be to develop curiosity and the ability to reason. I am sure that The Science School will set high standards and develop a good scientific foundation. The students, I am sure, will be trained to work hard, and also develop good social behavior. The output of the School would meet the future needs in our scientific organizations.
There is no doubt that science education is a must for not only building a sound defence of the country but also for sustainable economic growth. There is a wave of high level science education that has touched our part of the world. China, India and Iran are emphasizing the development of high level of scientific manpower.
I end my message by expressing my hope that The Science School will prove to be an important initiative and the School will be a first step to produce not only good scientists but also responsible scientists.
The Science School is the concrete realisation of a dream. Pakistan’s scientists and engineers, its armed forces, its dreamers, have reached for the impossible – and won. Pakistan is today a responsible nuclear power, with the capacity to deter aggression, and defend its frontiers and its ideology. It is accepted by the world as such.
Developing education, with special focus on science as its bedrock, is a vital goal for our country. While Pakistan has a rich and growing private sector education system, there is a dire need to focus our resources on supporting scientific education initiatives at the school level. Our excellent, world level colleges and universities require high quality school education for the development of concepts, skills, attitudes, that are required for the kind of goals that Pakistan sets for them. Such concepts, skills and attitudes can best be developed in young minds at an early age. The Science School is a brave endeavour, powered by motivated and highly professional people, to meet just such a challenge of developing young minds with a scientific approach to problem solving. They deserve our full support.
The Science School is conceived to become a feeder school, a nursery, to provide well groomed scientific human resource to our higher institutes of learning, and eventually to the scientific strategic organisations in order to keep the oxygen going.
I end with an Ayat from the Holy Quran: Wa’anna Laysa LiI Insani Illa Ma Sa’a. Surah Najam, Ayat 39 (And man has only that for which he makes an effort). May Allah accept our efforts and grant us success. Aameen.
The Prospectus and Website of The Science School provide a useful insight into the aims, objectives, and methodologies of the school. Readers can learn why the school has been established, its noble purpose in the service of the defense of Pakistan, and tells us who are the people involved in the important national project.
As The Head of the Academic Board of The Science School, I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about the educational philosophy that underpins our efforts. To begin, what is it that children will learn with us? In our understanding, children come to school to gain knowledge, but what is knowledge? Is what we know reality? We understand that knowledge is not a fixed body of facts that have been accumulated over the centuries. What we know today for example, about how we catch colds is very different from what people knew even 10 years ago. We now know about viruses, how touching objects that someone with a cold has touched will give us a cold as well! We now know that there is a possibility of water on Mars and that our beliefs about how the Universe was formed are perhaps incomplete and we need to find out more. This is one good reason not to teach Science as a fixed body of facts for rote memorization but to prepare our students to doubt, to question, investigate, explore and discover new knowledge.
In Ayats 1-3 of Surah al Haaqqa of the Holy Quran we read “ The Reality! What is the reality? Ah what can convey unto you what is the Reality? Thus the Quran itself leads the reader to think and ponder, to question what we know about reality. The first commandment to the Holy Prophet is “Iqra” or “Read”. We are commanded to read, to travel, to observe, to study and to deliberate. The Science School takes these commandments most seriously and endeavors to facilitate a thinking curriculum, thinking students and a thinking faculty.
While we learn to explore and investigate, we also recognize that the tools we use for scientific investigation are limited. The lens we wear will colour what we see. Our prior knowledge will influence the direction in which we shall look. The language we have, the capacities and scope of our vision, the courage of our faith will both open new frontiers as well as define what we can learn. This is what makes the search for knowledge exciting and challenging.
We also know that science is an activity. People don’t just know science they do science. They ask questions. They plan investigations and use tools such as microscopes, telescopes, etc. They learn to measure carefully and record what they find. More importantly, they learn to problem solve. Their prior knowledge is a building block but SCIENCE helps them to move on. To learn more, find out, discover. It also helps them remember that it was the tools that they used and the theory they employed that led them to a conclusion. There could be many other conclusions.
Pakistan is a developing Muslim nation faced by many challenges. The Science School aims to equip our young scientists and engineers, thinkers, with the concepts, skills, and knowledge they can use to serve Pakistan, to make it strong and secure it for the future of our generations to come.
Through this Prospectus, I am delighted to showcase aspects of The Science School environment, ethos and its expectations. I hope that you will find this informative. We look forward to welcoming you, when visiting the School, to experience our purposeful and conducive-to-learning school environment and meet our synergized team.
The key driving force behind the School is its Mission Statement. It forms the bedrock of principles on which student learning experiences pertaining to patriotism, leadership as well as science, engineering, technology, mathematics and other subject areas rest. At The Science School, we place emphasis on developing a sense of values, faith, love for our country, pride in our national identity, respect for others, a responsible attitude towards the community, care for the environment and pride in oneself.
The School has various quality assurance and support systems in place. These include professional management of individual learning, student self-review, tutorial support, study periods, to name just a few, to enable students to embark on a journey of personal best towards their chosen field in higher education and future careers in Pakistan.
Having said this, The Science School also has some expectations of its students, which include:
a) We expect our students to set personal goals for themselves and strive towards achieving them. Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, said, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
b) Students are expected to study at home in order to carry out home assignments, review and revise school based learning.
c) Students to contribute widely to school life; in academics, extra and co-curricular activities.
d) The Science School has expectations of behaviour in keeping with our organizations and high moral purpose. All staff, students and indeed community are expected to uphold and demonstrate our standards at at all times.
Growing up has never been a simple process. The age band 10 to 17 (Class 5 through A’ levels) needs the supervisory adults’ deep understanding and support to grasp the child-adult’s reality. The School values parents-school partnership towards the singular goal of students’ personal, academic, social and emotional success and achievement.
The Science School team is proud to be a part of Pakistan’s scientific education development. We look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.