The Muslim world is behind in science and technology and it needs to invest in upgrading its human resource and capacity building. Social indicators are quite meagre in the OIC member countries whereas 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 resource in capacity building, said Jordan’s former Prime Minister Prof. Dr. Adnan Badran, Chancellor of University of Petra and former Deputy Director General of Unesco-Paris while addressing a Public Awareness Seminar on ‘Science Education and Research and Development for Innovation in OIC Countries’ at the Professor Salimuzzaman Siddiqui Auditorium of the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi. Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), KU, organised this event in association with Virtual Education Project Pakistan (VEPP).
Prof Badran further said that 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 3,000 scientists and engineers in advanced countries for development of high quality workers. Science education, technology and innovation throughout basic education were a perquisite for sound higher education and research and development for development. Literacy in science and skills in mathematics were essential for achieving science education for all, he maintained. Science, technology and society 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 percent comparable to developed countries, but the gap in quality of education is apparent.”
He remarked that Pakistan committed to achieving goals of the Dakar Framework of Action on Education for All (EFA) and took the lead in developing the National Plan of Action during 2002. There were only two universities at the time of the creation of Pakistan in 1947, namely University of the Punjab and University of Sindh. Now Pakistan has 177 universities with 1,117,587 students enrolled in public and private sector universities and colleges. Pakistan’s expenditure in science as percentage of GDP is 0.33 percent less than Malaysia 1.07 percent, Turkey 0.86 percent and Iran 0.75 percent. The production of knowledge as indicated in scientific journals is 1,268 less than Turkey’s 8,328, Iran’s 8,176, Malaysia’s 2,092 and Egypt 2,515, Saudi Arabia’s 1491, but more than the rest of Arab countries.
He said there was no doubt that some OIC countries had shown progress in science and converting technology through innovations, which resulted in the creation of wealth, prosperity and enhancing sustainable development.