Marking COMSATS 20th anniversary
COMMISSION FOR Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South [COMSATS] has marked its 20th anniversary. More heartening is the fact that its continued pursuit of accomplishing its mission of socio-economic development in the countries of the South has instilled confidence in a large number of development organizations, working in parts of the world, that developing states can stand on their own feet. This could be possible only if they collaborate and share their resources in terms of skills, expertise, technology and manpower. However, at COMSATS, this approach does not suggest isolation from the developed world as COMSATS has also benefited from developed worlds various organizations for a number of projects from time to time. Being an inter-governmental organization of 21 countries and a network of 18 SandT Centres of Excellence, spread across four continents, COMSATS is playing an important role for SandT-led development and projecting a positive image of Pakistan in the international arena. At the same time, its efforts, meant for internet services for education and health sectors, in particular the tele-health initiative, has ranked it high. It is a proven fact that science, technology and innovation pave the way for economic growth and development that ensures poverty alleviation. What needs to be done in Pakistan during the next 10 years in science and technology is to restrain economic underperformance and to achieve the socio-economic benefits for the underprivileged masses. The National Science, Technology, and Innovation (STandI) Policy, launched in 2012, does stress the need for “development-oriented” policy instruments for promotion of STandI in the country. It has been widely recognized that the advancement in science and technology is the only way to ensure that masses, majority of which are extremely deprived, undernourished and unemployed, get their due share in national economic growth and development. Pakistan, being a developing country with challenges mounting on yearly basis in terms of number, nature and their complexity, desperately needs economic stability. This is doable if we move forward towards building capabilities for sourcing external technical and scientific knowledge, its subsequent adaptation, and absorption for value addition in local production processes and simultaneously creating a knowledge base for innovation. No doubt, investments in science, technology, and innovation are the only way forward for Pakistan, however, a cautious approach in selecting what specific technologies the country intends to master and be recognized as its core strength in next 5-10 years is highly desirable. The incumbent government too needs to adopt a reformed approach with the help of COMSATS if it desires to come at par with the developed world.
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