Need stressed to incorporate space education in national curriculum

Islamabad: Speakers at an international moot on space science here Wednesday stressed the need to incorporate space education in national curriculum.The International Space Conference 2014 was organized by Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) in collaboration with Institute of Space Technology (IST), Islamabad, at OIC Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) Secretariat, Islamabad.

The Inter-Islamic Network on Space Sciences & Technology (ISNET) is the co-sponsor of the Conference. International renowned scientist and Coordinator General COMSTECH Dr. Shaukat Hameed Khan was the chief guest at the occasion.

In his welcoming address to the inaugural session, Chairman SUPARCO Ahmed Bilal said that space products and services have continued to become more readily available and integrated into daily life of billions of people. “The size of the global space economy crossed a mammoth US$ 315 billion mark in 2013 and is one of the sectors recording highest growth rates. Developing nations, especially, are progressively increasing their spending on space activities and are working towards the indigenization of national space programmes,” he added.

Chairman SUPARCO urged the need to incorporate space education in national curriculum and said that “our youth makes up about 35 per cent of the country’s total population and it is our dream that Pakistani youth become the space leaders of tomorrow and lead the country from the front.”

Acclaimed Pakistani scientist, scholar and educationist, Dr. Shukat Hameed Khan praised the efforts of IST for departing space education amongst the youth of country. He also praised SUPARCO and its role as the national space agency of Pakistan.

Speaking at the occasion Dr. Khan said that Pakistan, along with rest of the developing world needs to invest in human resources today, so that tomorrow a skilled work force is available.

“Space technology has the potential to transform the agro-economy of Pakistan, and SUPARCO is leading it in the right direction,” he added.

Present at the occasion, Vice Chancellor IST, Engr. Imran Rahman said “IST is the only institution in the Islamic world which focuses specifically on space technologies, and the vision of our university is, to pave way for our country and beyond to fully utilize this resource for meaningful development. Our university grooms students in both science and engineering aspects of space technology, and our approach is aligned with Pakistan Vision 2030 designed by the Planning Commission and the Pakistan Space Vision 2040 by SUPARCO. Both these roadmaps have been incorporated in IST’s Vision 2030, where developing human and social capital is a focus and space technology is the medium through which we can positively affect quality of living for our citizens and beyond.”

Sequel to the first Space Conference held in September 2012, International Conference on Space ICS-2014 is an initiative of SUPARCO to connect various entities related to Space Sciences for sharing latest developments in space technologies and their applications.

The theme of ICS-2014 is “Space for development”. The focus is on how emerging space-faring nations can effectively apply space-derived techniques and solutions to solve complex development issues. The three-day conference will connect space professionals, decision-makers, academicians, researchers and scientists as well as students of space sciences and technologies to showcase their achievements, share latest development in space technology and applications, and voice their opinions on important space and development issues in a highly interactive and cross-disciplinary environment.

Second day of the Conference will also constitute technical sessions that will be held in parallel on space technology themes like Space Structures, Thermal, Propulsion systems, Attitude and Orbit Control System, On-Board Computer, Radio Frequency. In addition to these applications of space technologies covering different applications of Global Navigation Satellite Systems, Satellite Remote Sensing, and Geographical Information System will be covered.

The conference will also have separate parallel sessions to discuss Space Sciences topics like Space Exploration, Microgravity Sciences, Ionospheric & Geomagnetic Research. After lunch a poster competition will be held where eminent panel of experts will judge space technology applications related posters prepared by students/researchers of different universities. Posters by students / researchers cover wide ranging topics on which research is being conducted in local universities. Best posters in each category will receive certificates.

The last day of the conference will start with parallel technical sessions on Satellite Sensors, Image Processing systems, Satellite Ground Segment; Space Applications in Water Resources & Agricultural Management; as well as sessions on Space Weather, Astronomy, Atmospheric & Environmental Sciences.

These sessions will be followed by 5 parallel Panel discussions on Space technology, Space Sciences, Space Applications, Space & Youth and Space law, Policy and regulatory issues where participants will have a chance to discuss issues related to these fields with technical experts from Pakistan and abroad.

The panel discussions will be followed by 5 parallel tutorial session where scientists from SUPARCO will give a detailed tutorial to participants on DEM / Flythrough Generation Using Very High Resolution Satellite Data; Satellite Applications in Assessment of Urban Heat Island: A Case Study of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Pakistan; Satellite Applications in Marine Resource Studies; Web and Mobile GIS Applications Development (Outlines), and FPGA Based Embedded System Design.

The Conference will be wrapped up on 14 November 2014 with a formal closing ceremony where winners of the poster competition will be awarded certificates.

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