Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal  directed the education authorities to formulate a National Plan of Action for excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects on priority basis.

Ahsan Iqbal said that quality education in Science, Technology , Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at school, college & university level has vital impact on production of quality scientists, engineers and technicians for economy. He said that we need to utilise the blended learning methods for students to inspire creativity in them. He said science curriculum, teacher training in science subjects, science & computer labs in every high school, science fairs & competitions, and effective monitoring & evaluation systems will be apart of plan.

He expressed these views while chairing a level meeting to review the state of STEM subjects education in Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform. Meeting was also attended by Chairman HEC Dr Mukhtar Ahmed and other officials of education from federal and provinces. Minister said that the importance of STEM subjects was undeniable as the same was also being focussed in both developed and developing world. Pakistan needs to have right education mix by producing the manpower needed for economic development. In this context the focus on STEM subjects at all tiers of education for complete value chain by both federal and provincial governments is critical as school and college education is domain of provinces, he added.

Minister said that we need activity based learning to explore creativity and imagination  in students . He stressed the need for developing ‘questioning minds ‘ among students by promoting culture of inquiry in our education system , leading towards innovation . We need to embrace learning model enshrined in the Holy Quran based on observation, inquiry and reflection. He further stated  that government is committed to bringing revolution in the education system and for this we need a clear roadmap and then results.

Minister directed that universities should organize refresher courses for the students who come from government institutions so that they can compete with students in leading private schools. The issue of medium of instruction and examination was also highlighted by the Federal Minister and said that we may go for a mix of both urdu and English at school level with description in Urdu and terminology adopted from English.

While mentioning government initiative of smart school system, Minister said that under this project 24 schools from Islamabad will be transformed into SMART school by employing blended learning in first phase. The project is a pilot which is aimed at bringing a paradigm shift by introducing computer based learning experience in education for children of government schools.

Ahsa Iqbal also mentioned the Science Talent Farming Scheme ( SEFC) which has been recently launched and said that  his dream turned into reality with the launch of this scheme. Through this scheme, 300 students from all over the country were selected on merit and would be given training, visits and experience to become world class scientists, he added

Ahsan Iqbal also highlighted the three major initiatives taken in the education sector by the government, including the launch of National Curriculum reforms, Examination System Reforms and Transformational teacher training initiatives for bringing radical changes in the education sector.