SWAT: Science students are exhibiting brilliant projects in the ongoing Swat Science Festival.
The two-day event from Tuesday to Wednesday has been organized by Alif Ailaan along with the cooperation of local partners. The class 10 students of GCMHSS Wadudia made a vaccuum cleaner, hydraulic lift and washing machine for the exhibition.
When asked how long it took them, one of them said: “Not long at all. Ten minutes. We students in Swat, this comes to us naturally.”
For the vacuum they inserted a bottle into a soft drink bottle to collect the dirt and attached a chute machine at the end. The washing machine had a motor and the hydraulic lift used a bucket within a bucket to lift up when a student pumped air in.
These projects were by Shahzeb, Mehran, Idrees, Saeed Mohammad and Aman Room.
GPS Gul Shaheed school students made a model of the solar system.
Class nine student Umar Zaman from GHSS Kabal Swat made a hydraulic bridge for the exhibition.
Ayaz, a class 10 student from GHS Ningolanai, made a light from the energy of human voice.
“I was once at an event and saw the lights light up when connected to the mic and got the idea from there,” said Ayaz. “So if the power goes and you have an event with music you can keep going,” he added in response to a question of application.
“My mother says she did not have all this in her day,” says Ayesha Khaliq of GHSS Tahirabad in Mingora. “Things have changed. My school gets more resources for us to do this.” She made a water purifier with charcoal and a bio gas model.
Did this all change after Malala’s attack? “Parents are now more keen on their girls studying,” Ayesha says. But she doesn’t attribute it all to Malala. She says her school’s principal worked hard to persuade parents. “They were worried about purdah, but my principal told them all this can happen in purdah.”
Another major factor appears to be a better pool of teachers. They have MSc and MPhil degrees says one student. There are few posts and many candidates so the better ones get through the NTS exams to qualify. “Now when it comes to rishtas men say they want teachers,” another student said.
That said the girls said it was “fifty-fifty” when it came to young women getting jobs as such.
Nida Rehman of GGHSS Tahirabad Mingora made a model which showed a parallel series combination of how to wire your house so if a fan burns out the other circuitry isn’t ruined by it.
The girls of GGHS Kabal made a lamp with spoons and an electroscope.
Students from Qambar Swat made remote and attached vehicle experiments to show off their circuitry skills. They put ice in a box and made an air conditioner as well.
Muskan Sarfaraz prepared this global ice cream and explains that the World is melting like an ice cream. She seeks attention of global leaders to take immediate actions to stop global warming. #SwatScienceFesival@EducationKP@ZiauddinY@MuhammadLila@aher5@gabeeno@Malalapic.twitter.com/vOyuvcYJZ5
— Udhyana (@Udhyaana) April 17, 2018
The festival is aimed at igniting a spark for science and discovery among students in the region, and to promote better quality of learning available in government schools.
The festival was organized Udhyaana, Swat Education Department and Pakistan Alliance for Maths and Science, and inaugurated by Commissioner Malakand Division Syed Zaheer ul Islam, Deputy Commissioner Shahid Mehmood, Assistant Commissioner Shahab Khan, Nazim Muhammad Ali Shah and District Education Officer Nawab Ali.
The first day of the festival attracted a massive attendance of 1500 girls and 5000 boys from more than 130 government and private schools of Swat district.
Teachers, entrepreneurs, science specialists, government officials and MPA Fazal Hakim attended the festival where students exhibited more than 100 science models displaying their passion for science and technology, and introduced innovative concepts to the visitors.
Interactive displays and live experiments, some of which involved robotics, hydraulics, electrical circuits, and easy-to-understand math guides, were conducted by the students and six science organisations from across Pakistan including Learn-o-Bots, Stemmers, Numerica, Pakistan Science Club, AZ Corps and Sabaq.
Nations have used maths and science to empower their citizens with higher incomes, and to help grow their economies. Maths and science education is not only integral to Pakistan’s prospects for economic growth, but also, to its ability to defend its people from the threat of violence, both globally and locally.
Swat that had been at the receiving end of extremism and violence from the years 2007-2009 resulting in decreased opportunities for girls to access education, is in its recovery phase. Girls and boys are now going back to schools, albeit certain challenges.
One of these includes poor learning outcomes with only 40.2% of students in Class 5 able to read a story in Urdu/Pushto, and only 44% of students in Class 5 being able to solve a 2-digit division sum.
Such quality-oriented interventions can help provide these children with an enabling environment to pursue and absorb high-quality learning, and push for an increased focus on improvements in maths and science learning inside classrooms, which could prove to be instrumental in Swat’s response to the opportunities available to the city, as well as to the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at-large.
Under the supervision of National Academy of Young Scientists, 1036 students created first-ever national record of simultaneously extracting DNA from strawberries, and 955 students made a human chain to represent the structure of the DNA. These records will be published in Pakistan Book of Records.
The exhibition is open to public, free of charge, and continues till tomorrow (April 18).
Story first published: 17th April 2018