Report: Follow up Capacity Building Workshop of Master Trainers on Inquiry Based Science Education 25-29 December 2017, Sukkur- Pakistan

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Background of the IBSE Capacity Building in Pakistan by ECOSF:

The first national workshop of the series, a capacity building workshop of Master Trainers on IBSE was jointly organized by ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) and Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) in collaboration with La main a la pate Foundation (LAMAP) and French Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan from 5-9 September 2016. A good number of 41 participants hailing from all over Pakistan, i.e., Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) School System, Sukkur Institute of Business Administration (Sukkur IBA) School System, Cantonment/Garrison School System, Provincial Institutes of Training and Education (PITEs) of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan provinces, and the coordinators of ECOSF, PSF and Pakistan Science Club (Karachi)had participated in the workshop.

All the trainees were to subsequently organize capacity building and training activities for their other colleague and feedback. In this respect, the Master Trainers of Sukkur IBA University Community Colleges, PAEC and Cantt/Garrison school systems had oraganized traings of their colleagues and had been feeding back to ECOSF during the last over one year. The IBSE programme requires a follow up for subsequent two years to review their activities and challenges during the implementation year discuss improvements in further training sessions.

Follow up IBSE Workshop

A follow up workshop of Master Trainers on IBSE was jointly organized by ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) and Sukkur IBA University (SIBAU), Sukkur- Pakistan from 25-29 December 2017 at SIBAU Campus-II. Purpose of the workshop was to get/ascertain the feedback of the participants of the IBSE workshop held from 5-9 September 2016 in Islamabad and to impart further training on IBSE based upon the feedback as per original three years plan. There were 35 participants of the workshop were from different schools system of Pakistan i.e., PAEC Schools, Sukkur IBA Schools, Cantt/Garrison Schools and The Science Schools (TSS), Islamabad. The trainers from PAEC and Sukkur IBA who were originally trained as Master Trainers on IBSE by the LAMAP France Trainers. However, some new teachers/trainers and Regional/Local coordinators were also invited to participate.

The workshop was opened by the Commissioner of Sukkur Division, Dr. Muhammad Usman Chachar, as the Chief Guest. During his opening remarks, he appreciated ECOSF and SIBAU for organizing such workshop in the interior city of Sindh Province of Pakistan (Sukkur) through inviting the teachers from small towns for the training which in itself is a great contribution towards the masses. He highly appreciated IBSE methodology of teaching and its implementation in the schools. He further said that he is confident that through this approach, the interest of the student towards science education will be increased and they will take sciences as their careers. The Commissioner emphasized that more workshops of this kind be organized frequently in remoter areas so that the roots of science education may grow stronger and stronger. He offered all possible support from the local governments for this cause.

Earlier, Prof Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor SIBAU welcomed the distinguished guests for attending the workshop from far furling places of Pakistan. He gave an over view of Sukkur IBA University. He briefly shared the history of SIBAU and said that it was started in two rooms in 1996 as an affiliated institute of IBA Karachi and later became degree awarding institute in 2006. Finally, in 2016, it surpassed the milestone and became the university. He also shared that SIBAU has introduced new concept o community colleges with the partnership of communities and government and under this concept/system, six communities colleges imparting quality education starting from Grade-1 in Sindh province, have been established and run successfully. He thanked ECOSF for bringing the IBSE programme in Pakistan and especially SIBAU Community Colleges and hoped that the participants of the workshop would learn the effective methodology of teaching i.e., LAMAP’s IBSE methodology and implement it in their schools.

Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro, President ECOSF, in his key note speech, highlighted the importance of the workshop and explained the IBSE approach of LAMAP initiated by the trio of LAMAP founders; Prof. George Charpak (Nobel Laureate), Prof. Yves Quere and Prof. Pierre Lena in 1996. After the success in France, the programme was expanded to other parts of the world. Prof. Soomro said that in Pakistan, the Programme was initiated by PSF under his Chairmanship in 2010. Prof. Soomro further elaborated that critical thinking that comes with science education is vital in training the mind, understanding the world, making choices and solving problems. The concept of "inquiry" fosters the understanding of technological innovations, which need to be inculcated among children at primary & secondary school levels. Thus, IBSE approach is used for teaching ofScience, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects at schools with the objective to instill the willingness of children to explore new ideas through evidence and logic, he said.

He further said that IBSE develops understanding of different science concepts through children's own physical and mental activity making use of their own skills of observation, questions, planning and conducting investigations, reviewing evidence, drawing conclusions, communicating and discussing results. Therefore, IBSE approach is a critical and essential step to ensure sustainable supply of young talent for linking advance research with sustainable industrial and economic development, concluded Dr. Soomro.He also shared that he has applied this approach even with illiterate adult farmers under an FAO-UN programme and it was proved that the approach can be used in everyday life for learning a variety of aspects and subjects. He hoped that in the five day workshop, the participants will learn new things related to critical thinking& inquirythrough presentations and hands-on activities and same techniques will beimparted among other teachersfor ultimate recipients i.e., the students/children.

After the formal opening of the workshop, the training/technical sessions were conducted by the trainers from SIBAU and PAEC. It is pertinent to mention that the Resource Persons were arranged indigenously who were trained on IBSE by LAMAP/ECOSF in the past.

The Workshop:

In first session, a review on activities performed by the participants of last year workshop (Sep 2016) was carried out based on four questions as under:

  1. What was good?
  2. What was not good?
  3. What should be improved?
  4. How should it be improved?

It is imperative to mention that participants of this workshop were mix of old (trained by LAMAP in 2016) and new participants: thus, the responses were in two groups, based on previous workshop by old participants and prevailing practices in respective schools of the new participants which were encouraging.

The training programme was designed in a way to touch the important science subjects viz., Physics, Chemistry, Life Sciences and Computer Science and various topics related to the critical thinking and inquiry were covered through presentations, hands-on activities, experiments and notes. Following topics were covered during the five day workshop:

  1. Introduction to Inquiry Based Teaching and its positive impacts/outcomes in IBA Community Colleges/Schools
  2. Assessment in Inquiry Based Learning
  3. Candle and Egg
  4. How do leaves breathe
  5. Carbon Dioxide as Ingredient of Photosynthesis
  6. Transfer of Heat and to find the specific heat of lead shots
  7. Motion of simple pendulum related to its length
  8. Concept of Friction
  9. Techniques for separation of components of Mixture
  10. Inquiry Based Unit Planning
  11. Encoding and Decoding techniques

The activities on the above topics were performed individually and in groups. Different groups were formulated on daily basis to better understand the topics and share their ideas with more and more participation. The Resource Persons beautifully conducted all the sessions and involvement of the participants was very obvious from their behavior and feedback.

The educational visits of Public School and Fabrication Lab (FAB Lab) of the SIBAU was also arranged for giving an exposure to the participants how they are managed which were greatly admired by the participants. To give the recreational touch, a visit of historical place named “Faiz Mahal” situated in Khairpur city, some 40 kilometers away from Sukkur was also arranged. The participants showed keen interest in the history of the “Mahal”. The word “Mahal” in local Sindhi language means “Palace” and Faiz Mahal is an old palace of Talpur emperors of Khairpur State which remained an independent state even after the creation of Pakistan and accepted allegiance to the Sate of Pakistan in 1950s.

On the last day of the workshop (29 December 2017), a reflection session was conducted and the participants were invited to give their views/comments and suggestions about the workshop. The outcome of the session was excellent and the participants were so happy to be the part of the workshop and expressed that they learnt a very new methodology of teaching which enhances critical thinking. They shared that they would implement this methodology in their schools and would train more teachers/colleagues.

At the end, the certificates of the participation were awarded to all the participants by the Vice Chancellor of SIBAU and subsequently, the workshop was ended with the hope that more and more activities on IBSE will be carried out for the good of future generations and for promotion of scientific approach among the teachers and students.

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