As a developing nation Pakistan needs to develop its human resources to survive in today’s competitive world. No country can economically survive or can successfully preserve its political stability without utilizing its natural resources in a sustainable and equitable way; it’s the human capital of a country that ultimately enables it to achieve this end. Knowledge based economies are the winners in today’s world because they lead in innovation and sustainability, these economies win because of the competitive advantage they acquire due to scientific and technical expertise, innovative competence and entrepreneurial enterprise of the individuals representing them. Nations with scant natural resources have emerged as winners because they focused on the right priorities and right imperatives at the right point of time, enhancing the quality of science education is one of those imperatives. Pakistan can perform better in international commerce and service sector by elevating the standards of science education at the elementary and secondary level. It’s high time to educate and train our children to become the professionals capable enough to compete at increasingly tough race of innovation, sustainability and entrepreneurial enterprise. We need to raise our standards of science education provided to millions of children attending both government and private schools and this is the only way we will be able to ensure a secure future for our coming generations. How can this be accomplished? This question does have straight forward and definite answers because there are shining examples and success stories that shed ample light on the subject. Federal and provincial governments run hundreds of thousands of schools serving millions of schoolchildren across the country it’s time to bring some revolutionary changes in government run schools to raise the standard of science education.

Starting STEM magnet programs in every district: provincial governments should start a magnet program in every district for students of government schools who are passionate to learn science and who have demonstrated this passion through their scores and aptitudes. Such magnet programs run successfully in many states in the US, a magnet program offers intensive instruction and rigorous training to students with the right aptitude and intellectual ability for studying science, determined through standardized tests. Such magnet programs for STEM education in every district will not only improve accessibility to quality education but will perk up the standard of science education by creating a culture of competition.

Encouraging students to learn science by doing and self discovery right from the primary level: science education can be greatly improved by introducing changes in teaching methodologies right from the primary schools, elements of activity based learning, inquiry based learning, project based learning, and problem based learning will have to be incorporated in the teaching methodologies employed in government run schools. An instinctive inclination for science among students can be transformed in to a governing passion by offering them the opportunities of self discovery and self exploration.  

Establishing science museums for children in every district: science museums can play a significant role in improving the standard of science education; tragically there are very few science museums for children in Pakistan that too in a couple of large cities. These museums should work under the auspices of the district education administration and should be amply equipped to satisfy the educational needs of students. These museums must have enough resources at their disposal to keep themselves up to date in order to be able to serve the academic needs of students in the most fitting manner.   Private or corporate sector should also be encouraged in supporting this policy of the government in helping the children to cultivate love for science and satiate their natural curiosity for learning.

Ensuring availability of auxiliary science literature in school libraries: this is another neglected sector, a large number of government run schools as well as private schools do not have robust library culture, many schools do not have any libraries at all and those which do have libraries don’t have books about science that could satisfy students’ needs and interests. A national program can be launched for publishing interesting illustrated books (in English, Urdu as well as in major regional languages) covering scientific topics for children, the availability of such books must be ensured in school libraries.

Improving working conditions for science teachers in government sector: the work of a science teacher is more laborious, time consuming and technical as compared to other fields of pedagogy at the primary and secondary schools levels. Special allowances for science teachers must be sanctioned by the government in order to attract intelligent and competent teachers to opt for teaching profession in the government sector. Special professional training programs for science teachers must be initiated and financed by the government to help science teachers to hone and update their professional skills.

Encouraging the use of educational technology: the use of educational technology is at a bare minimum level in the government run schools it will be an investment intensive enterprise for the government to introduce latest technologies in all the government run schools at once. It will be more practical to introduce technological innovations gradually starting from the magnet programs for STEM education. Use of multimedia, information technology and educational manipulatives will be a great step forward in improving the standards of scientific instruction in our schools.

Introducing a culture of competition in teaching/ learning of science: standards of science teaching and learning can be raised to an astonishing level by bringing in a culture of competition not only for students but for teachers as well, special awards for best performing science teachers and schools should be delivered in every district. Competitions in science learning may include elements testing the degree of understanding of scientific concepts, knowledge of scientific facts and problem solving skills. Science projects competitions must be held in every district under the supervision of district education administration to create a competitive learning environment.