Pakistan needs to focus on research for astronomy exploration

STAFF REPORT LHR: Since the developed world is fast exploring new avenues of research in the universe for the benefit of human kind, there is a desperate need in Pakistan to also expand the scope of science subjects especially among the students of educational institutions by involving them through regularly holding expos, seminars and showcasing the performance of those working on astronomy fields.

These views were expressed by speakers at a prize distribution ceremony and Galileo workshop recently held at the Ali Institute of Education, Lahore.

Purpose of the event, organized by the Khwarizmi Science Society (KSS), was to teach the teachers of different schools about the assembling of Galileoscopes and to guide them about the observations of the Celestial objects that they can see from the Galileoscope.

On the occasion, the Society gave away Galileoscopes to 20 schools across the country. The KSS had received 30 Galileoscopes as an award for celebrating International Year of Astronomy (2009). In 2009, KSS had organized a number of Falkiyati Melas or Astronomy Feasts in which thousands of children, parents and teachers had participated.

On the occasion, a lecture on assembling the Galileoscope was given and then participants were asked to perform the same assembling task. A lecture on Introduction to Astronomy and how to use Galileo scope for the Celestial objects was also given.

“Due to our extensive activities KSS was rewarded by 30 Galileoscopes that we have planned to distribute among the promising institutions across Pakistan. This will catalyze interest in cosmic sciences at the grassroots and institutional level,” said Prof. Dr Saadat Anwar Siddiqi, President Khwarizmi Science Society, in his remarks on the occasion.

He revealed that the Society had sent invitations to almost 300 schools across the country out of which 50 schools took interest and later we have selected a final list.

The 20 schools to get the Galileoscope were from Lahore, Faisalabad, Bhalwal (Sargodha), Khanewal, Nankana Sahib, Rahimyar Khan, DI Khan, DG Khan and Quetta.

The KSS is known for organising falkayati melas in Punjab as so far it has held 17 such melas in schools, colleges, universities, parks and Rohtas Fort, the KSS president said.

Prof. Dr Saadat said that the KSS didnt get tripods with the telescopes but managed to provide them too. It has always raised donations from its well-wishers and membership-fee alone. There is no government or foreign funding for the society, he made it clear.

On the occasion, the KSS demonstrated to the participating principals and teachers how to assemble and use the Galileoscope and distributed manuals and CDs among the participants for the same purpose.

Later, the educationists interacted with the audience. They also appreciated the KSS for getting together educationists from far off places of the country.

In his remarks, Principal of Qurtaba School in DI Khan that secured top positions in the board, said, “Understand what you read. I learnt about Islam after learning physics. When we reflect on something, we get to understand that and by doing so are closer to God. The focus should be on making children good human beings and on instilling in them love of learning.”

Shahid Majeed, Rector, Ali Institute of Education, on the occasion also talked about the contributions of Muslim scientists especially Khwarizmi, who was the greatest scientist of all times.

The KSS aims at promoting a science culture in Pakistans educational institutions and in the general public. Astronomy is just one field where the society has succeeded in getting the public involved in their activities. Lectures and activities in various fields have been going on since 1997 when the society was established.

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