The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Careers Programme, a joint venture of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS), held an award distribution ceremony to honour 12 talented Pakistani students who represented Pakistan in International Science Olympiads in July 2018.
Pakistani students won one Bronze Medal, three Honourable Mentions, and one Merit Certificate in International Chemistry Olympiads, International Mathematics Olympiads, and International Biology Olympiads held in Romania, Iran and Czech and the Slovak Republic respectively. Cash prizes and certificates were distributed among the students.
So far, Pakistani teams have won 109 medals including four Silver Medals, 57 Bronze Medals, 45 Honourable Mentions and one Merit Certificate along with two special prizes in the annual International Science Olympiads held in different countries across the world, i.e., Switzerland, Brazil, Singapore, USA, Germany, UK, Spain, Canada, Argentina, and South Korea etc.
The award distribution ceremony was graced by Pakistan Academy of Sciences President Dr Qasim Jan, as chief guest. PIEAS Rector Dr Nasir Majeed Mirza and a large number of students were present on the occasion.
Addressing the ceremony, Dr Jan appreciated the students for their aptitude and hard work. “As President of Pakistan Academy of Sciences, I congratulate you all who represented Pakistan, especially those who have won medals in the international competition, on behalf of all the scientists of Pakistan.”
Highlighting the significance of STEM subjects, he said STEM education is intended to enhance the competencies of students and enable them to get opportunities for acquiring up-to-date knowledge. He said that resource-based economies have turned into knowledge-based economies owing to development and progress in science and technology. He stressed the need for meeting the true objectives of promoting STEM in the country.
Earlier, Dr Mirza shed light on the background and importance of STEM Careers Programme. He said the participation of Pakistani students in competitions like International Science Olympiads not only enhances their capabilities and confidence but also adds value to the efforts for promotion of STEM education in the country.
Every year a nationwide screening test is conducted through National Science Talent Contest (NSTC) in the major cities of Pakistan for selection of students of Matric (9th, 10th and 1st year) and O-Level/ A-Level-I. Out of more than 6000 students, the top 50 students in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics are shortlisted for the first training camp, which continues up to four camps of a one-week duration in different phases.
In the concluding camp, the top four-to-six students from each subject are given extensive training for their possible participation in International Science Olympiads held every year in different countries across the world. The STEM home institutions for training camps are: COMSATS University, Lahore for Mathematics, Pakistan Institute of Engineering & Applied Sciences (PIEAS) Islamabad, for Physics, HEJ Research Institute, University of Karachi for Chemistry and National Institute of Bio-Technology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE) Faisalabad for Biology.
The annual International Olympiads provide pre-university science students of the world with an opportunity to compete in solving challenging theoretical and experimental science problems that only the most talented youth of their age can answer.
The students who participated in the International Science Olympiads included Muhammad Suleman, Karachi Grammer School; Gohar Saqib Fazal, Beacon House School System, PECHS, Karachi; Omar Muhammad Kidwani, Karachi Grammar School; Muhammad Arshad Alam, BVS Parsi High School, Karachi; Haroon Khan, Pakistan International School, Jeddah; Sualeh Asif, Headstart School System, Karachi; Hesham Mohammad Nawaz, Aitchison College, Lahore; Abdul Rehman Zahid, Siddeeq Public School, Islamabad; Muhammad Abdullah, Nishat College of Science, Multan, Ahmed Salik, Karachi Grammar School; Saad Khan, Islamia College Peshawar; and Laiba Naseer, Hamza Army Public School and College, Rawalpindi.