’Muslim world behind in science and technology’

KARACHI: Former Prime Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Prof. Dr. Adnan Badran on Wednesday said that Muslim world was behind in science and technology.

“Social indicators are quite meagre in the OIC member countries. Some countries are forced to import even drinking water from developed countries. There is an urgent need for some OIC countries to catch up, to invest in science and technology and upgrade their human resources in capacity building. Science education is imperative for considerable socio-economic growth in any Muslim country. Pakistan has about 149 scientists and engineers per million population as compared to 3000 scientists and engineers in advanced countries for development of high quality workers,” he said.

He was addressing a public awareness seminar on “Science Education and Research and Development for Innovation in OIC Countries” at Prof. Salimuzzaman Siddiqui Auditorium of International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi.

Dr. Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi has organised this event in association with Virtual Education Project Pakistan (VEPP).

Prof. Badran, who is the Chancellor of University of Petra and former Deputy Director General of UNESCO-Paris, said that science education, technology and innovation, throughout basic education were a perquisite for sound higher education and R&D for development. Literacy in science and skills in mathematics are essential for achieving science education for all, he maintained.

He said, “Science, technology and society (STS) is not only learning to live together, but also interacting and learning to live with nature. Looking at OIC countries, there are success stories where literacy rate in some countries like Iran, Malaysia and Turkey and in the Arab states such as Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan and United Arab Emirates have reached 98 per cent comparable to developed countries, but the gap in quality of education is apparent. Pakistan committed to achieving goals of Dakar Framework of Action on Education for All (EFA) and took the lead in developing National Plan of action during 2002. There were only two universities at the time of creation of Pakistan in 1947, namely University of the Punjab and University of Sindh. Nowadays Pakistan has 177 universities with 1117587 students enrolled in public and private sector universities and colleges. Pakistan expenditure in Science as percentage of GDP is 0.33 per cent less than Malaysia 1.07 per cent, Turkey 0.86 per cent, Iran 0.75 per cent.

Production of knowledge as indicated in scientific journals was 1268 less than Turkey 8328, Iran 8176, Malaysia 2092, and Egypt 2515, Saudi Arabia 1491, but more than the rest of Arab countries. High technology exports for Pakistan were $349 million in 2013 less than Malaysia 60372, Turkey 2177, Iran 653, Morocco 950 and Tunisia 616, but more than the rest of Arab countries.”

There is no doubt that some OIC countries have shown progress in science and converting technology into innovations, which resulted in creation of wealth, prosperity and enhancing sustainable development.

Earlier Director ICCBS Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary presented the introduction of the ex prime minister in the seminar. In the end, former Federal Minister for Science and Technology and former Chairman Higher Education Commission Prof. Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman presented the vote of thanks.