Representatives from nine robotics companies from across Pakistan met with Balochistan's Education Secretary Abdul Fateh Bangar in Quetta on Monday to discuss the introduction of robotics-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in Balochistan.
Presenting innovative ideas regarding the use of technology at education institutions, the representatives explained how STEM studies could improve education in schools across the province.
Briefing the secretary, the representatives said robotics is the latest technology being used in classrooms throughout the country, with labs being introduced to students from grade 1.
"Robotics is a regular subject in school with grade wise curriculum, toolkits, textbooks and teacher's guides available for grades 1-12. We conduct workshops and competitions to build interest among teachers and students," the company representatives said.
While the secretary appreciated the concept of a robotics education, he expressed his reservations about introducing it in schools in Balochistan.
"Are we capable enough to adopt such technology at school-level within the province?" Bangar asked, adding that the heavy financial costs of introducing the concept in schools would be a concern.
"We are still lacking basic facilities such as washrooms and water for classrooms in schools. This has been our priority," Bangar said.
Additional Secretary Farooq Kakar pointed out that a further challenge to the introduction of robotics based education in the province is that "children in some government schools cannot read simple sentences in Urdu."
"The initiative of taking education to a modern level needs a composed structure," the additional secretary added.
He invited the companies to work with the government on computer stimulation that he said had shown positive results.
"Robotic companies could collaborate and help us to implement STEM education in schools on a larger scale," Kakar said.
The meeting between the representatives and the companies was organised by education initiative Alif Ailaan, which has also been collaborating with federal government and the provincial governments of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Science camps have already been introduced in KP, with students and teachers from 20 districts currently participating in them.