KARACHI: All other subjects took a back seat at the Dawood Public School, where a three-day Magnifi Science exhibition, organised by the Dawood Foundation, opened on Friday morning.
“We will think, speak, sleep, dream, eat, drink and even breathe science throughout the weekend,” said one enthusiastic student checking out the exoskeleton suit hanging from its wooden stand at the Pakistan Science Club stall.
“The motto of our club is ‘Learn by doing’,” said Shahryar Siddiq, Pakistan Science Club’s marketing representative. About the exoskeleton suit, he said it was developed by their scientists for disabled persons. “All they have to do is wear it like one does a backpack and is robotic or bionic rods which line the person’s arms and legs would empower them to move like normal people, although practice makes perfect.”
Nearby, Quratulain Hassan, a student volunteer in a lab coat, was encouraging other students to play miniature golf. There was a golf club and a ball but it was to be aimed inside a PVC pipes. “Our miniature golf course measures the strength and speed with which you hit the ball,” the student volunteer said.
More pipes and water at another stall had many aspiring plumbers, teachers included, busy. “Plumbing, if you think about it, is also a kind of science,” said a teacher getting her hands wet in connecting the pipes.
“What if there is a leaky faucet or something like it at home and the plumber is not available? Plumbing can be a useful extra skill,” said Lintah Aslam.
Another scientific thing generating much interest at the exhibition was Burq, the solar/electric car. Said to be able to cover 80 kilometres after being charged for five hours, the car can also run non-stop during day time as its roof was covered by solar panels. “The plug-in option is there to supplement power for when you want to take it out for a spin at night or in cloudy weather,” said Syed Abdur Rehman, who added that they had imported three Burq models from China. “There is the two-door Burq Jr, the four-door Burq family car and the Burq Wagon that has seating space for eight people,” he said.
The exhibition also had live interactive science experiments, including optical illusions such as mirror mazes, 3D printing, ice-cream making, etc. There were lectures and scientific film screenings as well.
The exhibition concludes on Sept 25 (Sunday).
Education system being reformed, says Murad Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday said that he was trying to reform the overall education system right from primary to university level, which included enhancing capacity and efficiency of school and college boards.
“The boards need to be more efficient in taking examinations and declaring results. Fully alive to the problems plaguing the public sector education my government is taking drastic measures to overhaul the whole system,” said the chief minister while speaking to journalists at the Dawood Foundation Public School in Bahadurabad where he went to visit the science exhibition.
He said he had declared an emergency in the education sector with the sole objective to improve performance of schools, colleges and universities in the public sector and hone communication skills of teaching staff. “I admit some important positions are vacant in universities, boards and directorates which will be filled shortly,” he said.
Mr Shah said that ensuring punctuality of teaching staff in the schools was not enough the teachers’ capacity building was badly required and “we have to inculcate in teachers the willingness to get involved in the teaching process for which civil society, educationists and media have to play a constructive role,” he said.
Mr Shah promised to restore glory of once prominent educational institution of the city, NJV School. “Once NJV School was a top ranking school where leading politicians and lawyers such as Hafeezuddin Pirzada received education but it gradually lost its glory over the years and we are now working on some plans to restore its glory,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Shah visited stalls set up by students and 28 different companies in the courtyard of the school and showed interest in a project for generation of coal-based energy. He also showed interest in a solar-powered car project.
Organisers informed the chief minister the company could produce buses for public transport powered by solar energy.
“This would be a great step to controlling environmental pollution in the city,” said Mr Shah.
The chief minister mingled with schoolchildren, took selfies and gave the jubilant children autographs.
Published in Dawn September 24th, 2016