By: Amal Hashim – Social Development and Policy Major 2020
Zartaj Waseem, a STEM Educational professional and software engineer, is the Co-Founder of Robotics Labs which is the first STEM Education Center in Pakistan. As Zartaj Waseem explained through the course of her talk, STEM is a trans-disciplinary approach to teaching the hard sciences. In this regard this is much like Habib University’s inter-disciplinary approach to its courses.
Furthermore, the Robotics Labs established a center for students of a young age and from diverse backgrounds, some not even in formal educational institutions, where they could engage them in a more interactive manner. This is more important in this day and age, Zartaj Waseem emphasized, because of how times are changing and how children seem to pick up the ability and skills to use technological gadgets earlier than they seem to go outside and play. And while this is generally taken to be a negative aspect in our society, Zartaj encouraged her audience to tailor their learning process in a way that would address their needs rather than take them to a time they cannot relate to.
One very interesting question that Zartaj’s talk attempted to put in perspective for her audience and her students at large was “Why do we need to learn MATH?” According to her the answer lies in the nature of math itself – the way it allows and teaches the student to critically and logically think about problems, the possible solutions, and the processes involved.
The talk was designed to show the audience the importance of STEM Education for Pakistani students and the need for the Pakistani educational system to change in order to accommodate these students. STEM education would also give these students new skills and develop in them a sense of responsibility and work ethics at a very young age besides the wide range of internship and job opportunities this would open up for them.