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1st National Workshop on IBSE in Iran for “Professional Development Programme on Inquiry Based Science Education”

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As a part of ECO Science Foundation’s Programme on Inquiry Based Science Education in ECO Member States, the 1st National Workshop on IBSE in Iran entitled “Professional Development Programme on Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) was jointly organized by ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF), University of Isfahan, Ministry of Education of Iran, Ministry of Science, Research and Technology of Iran, in collaboration with La main a la pate Foundation (LAMAP)France, Inter Academy Partnership – Science Education Programme (IAP-SEP) and International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre (ISTIC) Malaysia from 8-13January 2017 at the University of Isfahan. The purpose of the workshop was to develop and enhance the capability and capacity of the teachers/educationists for promoting/implementing IBSE (La main a la pate approach) in Iranian Schools.

The workshop was opened by President of University of Isfahan Prof. HooshangTalebi. In his speech, Prof. Talebi welcomed all the distinguished guests/participants of the workshop. President of the University thanked to ECOSF for bringing the programme to Iran and the 1stworkshop to Isfahan. He also thanked LAMAP for joining and supporting the ECOSF initiative in Iran. He also thanked other important stakeholders including the Ministries of Education and SRT of Iran, ISTIC and IAP SEP. Prof. Talebi hoped that the local participants would actively engage in the workshop and learn new IBSE techniques which will further be implemented in schools for future generations. After the speech of Prof. Talebi, a detailed presentation about University of Isfahan was made by Prof. Seyed Komail Tayebi, Director International Scientific Cooperation Office of the University of Isfahan. The establishment, programmes, faculties, facilities, etc, of the university were shared with the participants.

 

A presentation was also made by Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro, President ECOSF in the opening session. Prof. Soomro, in his speech, thanked the organizers for joining hands in this noble cause. In his presentation, Prof. Soomro introduced ECO Science Foundation to the participants. He said that ECOSF is an specialized agency of Economic Cooperation Organization, a regional organization of ten countries viz., Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. He further said that  ECOSF works to promote and fund Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) research collaboration leading to Economic Development among the Member States, promote and popularize Science at grass root level (to Strengthen Science base) through IBSE, and harmonize STI policies of ECO Countries. He also mentioned in his presentation that sustainable solutions, whether at the global, regional or country level, require creativity, new advances in scientific knowledge, discoveries and innovations and Innovation geared towards sustainable development has the potential to uplift economic growth, create jobs, boost social development, as well as contribute to environmental protection and conservation but it requires a clear strategy that puts science and education at its core.Therefore, there is a dire need for Quality Education for empowering children for future and all young people should be prepared to think deeply and critically & well, so that they have the chance to become successful innovators, educators, researchers, policy makers, politicians and leaders who can solve the most pressing challenges facing our nations and our world, both today & tomorrow. In this regard, IBSE is a most appropriate approach. He also shared main programmes, funding and partners organizations of the Foundation with the participants. He hoped that the participants would enjoy the workshop and learn IBSE techniques enthusiastically.

 

Dr. Mehmood Amani Tehrani, Director General Curriculum, Ministry of Education also attended the opening session and made a presentation. He recalled his participants in the LAMAP seminars in 2015 with the support of ECOSF. He simply defined IBSE in Persian language and gave a future plan for IBSE to be implemented in Iranian schools. He said that Ministry of Education of Iran is committed for this cause and all possible support will be provided. Another representative of Ministry of Education Dr. Hassan Hazarkhani was also present in the opening session who remained present in whole workshop; which indicated the seriousness and ownership of the Programme by the Ministry.

 

Prof. Pierre Lena, Co-founder of LAMAP also made a presentation and said that LAMAP was established in 1995 by Nobel Laureate Prof. George Charpak, Professor Yves Quéré and himself to promote IBSE in schools. He defined IBSE as an active participation of students to the construction of their scientific understanding and knowledge, based on observation, questioning, experiments, hypothesis, argumentation and expression. He further said that in this technique, natural phenomena and simple experiments are proposed by teachers to students and understanding begins with small ideas, and progresses toward big ideas, which have a broader explanatory power, introduce more abstraction and quantitative content. Inquiry can inspire science education from 5 years old to 16. Prof. Lena also shared the structure of his Foundation where pilot centres have been established for facilitation of primary schools and house of sciences for secondary schools. He concluded that the success of the programme is the continuity and progress in France for more than twenty years and hoped that it will take roots in Iran too. He highly appreciated the efforts of ECOSF in promoting IBSE- La main a la pate in ECO countries and assured of their continued support.

 

During the opening session, a preliminary MoU between LAMAP and University of Isfahan was also signed with the support of ECO Science Foundation and Ministry of Education of Iran. The MoU is the 1st step towards a concrete agreement with all details, partners and course of action and future plans to be signed in coming months.

Next day, the actual workshop facilitated by LAMAP Trainers began. Two trainers from LAMAP France (Ms. Anne Goube and Mr. Patrick Arnaud) came to train 40 Iranian participants attending the workshop from all over Iran.  On the first day, Ms. Goube gave a short brief of IBSE and outlines of the hands on activities to be carried out during five days workshop. After the introduction, six groups were formed for carrying out the hands on - minds on activities pertaining to IBSE. During the workshop, each group was given small scientific assignments/tasks to complete. The assignments/tasks were meant ultimately to be taught to the children in Schools. The workshop was mix of theoretical and practical exercises. In first phase, the participants presented their projects theoretically on white boards/ large papers and then through models made of different materials as per requirement. All required material was made available by the organizers of the workshop for the ease of the participants. The participants were also asked to prepare their own proposals for small projects. The enthusiasm and engagement of the participants in the workshop was highly appreciable.

A three year plan was also discussed and it was proposed that this was the first workshop which might be followed by two more workshops yearly with the same participants. After this workshop, the participants will train on IBSE to more teachers in their respective system so that the more and more teachers can be trained to teach in the schools.

At the end of the workshop, the participants highly praised the trainers in the way they taught the participants. The workshop was ended with vote of thanks. Following are some glimpse of hands on activities performed by the participants:

It is pertinent to mention that ECOSF in collaboration with LAMAP, ISTIC and IAP and Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, has launched the IBSE Programme for ECO member States in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan in June 2015. Subsequently, a National IBSE Capacity Building was held in September 2016 in Islamabad, Pakistan and this workshop 3rdin the series was for Iran. The next is planned for Tajikistan in April 2017.

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