President ECOSF meets the President of Academy of Sciences Tajikistan in Dushanbe on June 3, 2015

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President of ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro during a recent visit to Dushanbe- Tajikistan held a meeting with the President of Academy of Sciences of Republic of Tajikistan Prof. Dr. Farhod RAHIMI in his office on June 3, 2015. The purpose of the meeting was; to introduce ECOSF and its programmes to the key national S&T institution, discuss the in-country developments and seek their cooperation for promotion of scientific and technological collaborative research and education in the ECO region with special reference to Tajikistan for stronger economic development and ties among ECO member countries.

Professor Rahimi assisted (for language) by Prof. Zayniddin Kamarovich MUHIDINOV, Director of Chemistry Institute of the Tajikistan Academy of Sciences, warmly welcomed Prof. Manzoor Soomro to Tajikistan and to the Academy. President ECOSF briefed the hosts about the historical background of ECOSF establishment, and its ongoing programmes and activities. He emphasized on the need for a stronger "Cooperation and Collaboration" in S&T research institutions among the 10 ECO member countries. Dr. Soomro further said that ECO Science Foundation will play the role of a catalyst and will also provide linkages with international players. He highlighted the international strategic partnership of ECOSF including International Science Technology and innovation Centre under the auspices of UNESCO (ISTIC) Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, La main a la pate Foundation of France and the Inter-Academy Partnership (IAP) Science Education Programme. He said that since Tajikistan Academy of Sciences is member of IAP, it should benefit from the SEP of IAP, of which Prof. Soomro is a Global Council member.

Prof. Soomro emphasized that for sustainable scientific and technological development, science/STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education at schools is vital and the teachers play a very critical role for the proper implementation and execution of the science education programme. Thus training of school teachers by involving researchers and university faculty/scientists together with school teachers is required. He then highlighted the ECOSF programme of inquiry based science education (IBSE) implementation in ECO member countries together with international partners. President ECOSF also informed the President of Academy that an IBSE Capacity Building workshop in collaboration with partners is being organized in Astana Kazakhstan on 22-15 June 2015; wherein two persons have already been nominated by the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan.

Prof. Rahimi appreciated the initiatives of ECOSF and for accepting two nominees of the Academy for IBSE workshop in Astana later during the month. He also assured President ECOSF for their consistent cooperation and support. However, he pointed out that after the collapse of Soviet Union and independence of Tajikistan, the S&T Research Sector in the country was facing various challenges including the poor condition and facilities of research laboratories of the institutions under the Academy of Sciences. Thus Prof. Rahimi shared with Prof. Soomro that they have proposed a programme of laboratory strengthening and training of scientific community of Tajikistan to the President of Republic for consideration. He further shared that the salary structure of Tajik researchers also needs to be revised and enhanced so that scientists can be motivated and retained in the country with good research laboratory facilities. To this Dr. Soomro shared the way Higher Education Sector in Pakistan was developed over a decade ago and offered to facilitate interaction and dialogue of Tajikistan Academy of Sciences with the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.

Finally, Prof. Soomro put forward the communiqué of ECO Science Foundation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Tajikistan through their Embassy in Islamabad for payment of mandatory budgetary contribution to ECOSF and nominations for ECOSF Executive Committee and Board of Trustees since Tajikistan is one of the ratifying country of ECOSF Charter. To this, Prof. Rahimi assured that they will pursue consultation with MFA and respond. Prof. Soomro also informed him about that the next Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting of ECOSF will be held on 10-11 Aug 2015, therefore, the stronger participation was requested by the President ECOSF from Academy of Sciences Tajikstan in upcoming BoT. The meeting then ended with thanks by each side.

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