China produces around 4.7 million graduates in STEM subjects every year which is an example: President Arif Alvi

Islamabad: President Dr Arif Alvi has said that China produces around 4.7 million graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects every year which was an example for Pakistan.

Stressing the need to focus on STEM subjects in the education sector, President Alvi maintained it was important for the country and people to progress.

Addressing a ceremony held to launch the STEM programme for higher secondary school students, he compared Pakistan with its neighbouring countries in this regard.

“China produces around 4.7 million graduates in STEM subjects every year, while India produces around 2.6 million and Iran 350,000. And where do we stand. I believe that the number of STEM graduates is lower in Pakistan,” he contended.

Like China, he mentioned, Pakistan should increase focus on STEM in the education sector as it crucial for the nation to compete with the rest of the world so that it did not lag behind and progress.

The President urged the nation to follow China to develop the education sector and compete with the world.

The STEM programme, aimed to train students in STEM subjects, will be launched by the Ministry of Science and Technology in 50 government-run higher secondary schools across the country. Students of grades 9 to 12 will be enrolled in the pilot programme and selected ‘based on their ability and talent.’

In his statement on the occasion, Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz emphasized that STEM subjects had acquired a ‘special importance’ in the world.

Sharing details about the programme, Faraz indicated that the programme was planned in 2020 and he and his team had worked on it day and night to give it “practical shape”.

Initially, the programme would be introduced in 50 schools, he said, adding that special laboratories would be built and teachers would be given specific training.

“These schools will also be associated with universities. The schools have been selected purely on merit, not political reasons. The principals will be our guests (in today’s event),” he stated.

A new era of progress will start because of these STEM schools in which we have given a new direction to the education system to make our students competitive globally, he claimed.

Last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved the STEM project in collaboration with varsities. Around 100,000 children in 400 schools will have access to education and training in modern sciences through the project.