Fifteen science centres to spring up in Pakistan

27 August 2001 Conscious of the need to turn young and old into ‘science-minded’ citizens, the Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) is planning to develop 15 science centres or museums across the country.

The Government is committed to spreading awareness among the Pakistani population of the role science and technology (S&T) play in improving the quality of life and their impact on economic development. Since informal education through science centres and museums helps to develop a science culture and awaken latent curiosity among students, the PSF is favouring this approach to popularizing science as part of follow-up to the World Conference on Science. The science centres will also be expected to supplement teaching in the biological and physical sciences at primary and secondary levels.

Paragraph 41 of the Science Agenda advises Governments to ‘accord the highest priority to improving science education at all levels, with particular attention to ... raising public awareness of science and fostering its popularization.’ Paragraph 49 urges ‘national authorities and funding institutions to promote the role of science museums and centres as important elements in public education in science.’

Pakistan’s new science centres will be funded jointly by public/private organizations, and by international funding agencies. The first is due to open in Faisalabad. It will display exhibits in the basic sciences, geology and informatics, with emphasis on the application to research to daily life. Science films will also be screened for visitors.

A number of science caravans – or mobile science exhibitions – will bring science to rural areas. When not operating in these areas, the caravan exhibits will be displayed at the Faisalabad science centre.

Using the portable planetaria acquired by the PSF, the Faisalabad centre will offer planetarium shows to schools and other institutions.

The centre will also provide an information service. There are a large number of organizations conducting research and development in the city of Faisalabad, which also hosts a textile industry among others. There are also several educational institutions, including the University of Agriculture and a Medical College. A sub-centre of the nationwide Pakistan Scientific and Technological Centre (PASTIC) housed in the Faisalabad centre will collect and feed back information to all bodies involved in S&T throughout the city.

Source: Pakistan National Commission for UNESCO: arghazi@comsats.net.pk