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Event Title: A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology was held on Thursday at Parliament House, Islamabad. Senator Anwar Ul Haq Kakar chaired the meeting.

Event Date: 2022-12-09

That was attended by, Senator Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi, Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Junejo, Senator Dr. Afnan Ullah Khan, Senator Muhammad Humayun Mohmand, and senior officers of the Ministry Science and Technology along with all concerned.

The Committee was briefed about the implementation of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics System (STEM) Project by Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation.  The Committee was informed that STEM invites students towards ‘Learning by Doing’ instead of ‘Learning by rote’.  A total of 57 STEM FABLABS will be established throughout the country and selection had been made on merit. The Committee took strong notice of the gender imbalance and stressed the need for a more gender inclusive approach that would provide the female child with the same opportunities as male children.  Questions were also raised about why STEM needed to develop its own modules and could not follow in the footsteps of its predecessors.  The Committee was informed that the modules were a gift from China which are being adapted to our own environment.  The Committee stressed the need of rigorous training of teachers for implementation of the program. 

Discussing the implementation status of recommendations made by the Committee to COMSATS University regarding update on the status of CUI Quetta Campus, the Committee was informed that the Government of Baluchistan had allocated 150 acres land for setting up the CU I Campus in Quetta in 2015. NESPAK prepared a master plan on the basis of a PC1 that was drawn and initially submitted in March 2019. The last recast of teh PC1 was submitted to the Ministry of Science and Technology in August 2022 that was returned to sponsors to review and come up with a prioritization strategy along with reappropriated budget in the next quarter with updated cost estimates.  In light of pre-CDWP directions, scope of the project has been curtailed to PC2Implementation of the project will taken up subsequently.  The Committee raised questions regarding delays in the project and said that it was high time that we as a nation do away with a quasi democratic attitude and ensure that all projects are completed in time. The Committee was informed that in addition to other issues lack of funds was another major impediment that stalled projects.       

Reviewing the working and performance of PCRET in the last five years the Committee was provided details of research conducted by the organization. The Committee was provided with details of the various products designed by it that include Silicon Solar Panels, Solar Mobile Charger, Home PV Solutions, Solar Lanterns and solar cookers.  The Committee was of the view that the organization must come up with a more economical initiatives in terms of renewable energy projects that can be implemented easily across the length and breadth of the country.   However, quality must not be compromised.  The Committee lauded the efforts of the Organization and the strides it has taken in field.