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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology recommended to the Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technologies (PCRET) to come up with more economical initiatives in terms of renewable energy projects that can be implemented easily across the country.

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology was held on Thursday which was chaired by Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar.

The meeting was attended among others by Engr Rukhsana Zuberi, Sana Jamali, Muhammad Ali Khan Junejo, Dr Afnan Ullah Khan, Muhammad Humayun Mohmand, and senior officers of the Ministry of Science and Technology along with all concerned.

Reviewing the working and performance of PCRET in the last five years, the committee was provided details of research conducted by the organisation. The committee was provided with details of the various products designed by it that include silicon solar panels, solar mobile charger, home PV solutions, solar lanterns, and solar cookers.

The committee was of the view that the organization must come up with more economical initiatives in terms of renewable energy projects that can be implemented easily across the length and breadth of the country. However, quality must not be compromised. The committee lauded the efforts of the organisation and the strides it has taken in the field.

The committee was briefed about the implementation of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics System (STEM) Project by the chairman Pakistan Science Foundation.

The committee was informed that STEM invites students towards “Learning by Doing” instead of “Learning by rote”.

A total of 57 STEM FABLABS will be established throughout the country and selection had been made on merit. The committee took strong notice of the gender imbalance and stressed the need for a more gender-inclusive approach that would provide the female child with the same opportunities as male children.

Questions were also raised about why STEM needed to develop its own modules and could not follow in the footsteps of its predecessors. The committee was informed that the modules were a gift from China which are being adapted to our own environment. The committee stressed the need for rigorous training of teachers for the implementation of the programme.

Discussing the implementation status of recommendations made by the committee to COMSATS University regarding the up-date on the status of CUI, Quetta Campus, the committee was informed that the Government of Balochistan had allocated 150 acres of land for setting up the CUI Campus in Quetta in 2015.

NESPAK prepared a master plan on the basis of a PC1 that was drawn and initially submitted in March 2019. The last recast of the PC1 was submitted to the Ministry of Science and Technology in August 2022 that was returned to sponsors to review and come up with a prioritisation strategy along with re-appropriated budget in the next quarter with updated cost estimates.

In light of pre-CDWP directions, the scope of the project had been curtailed to PC2 implementation of the project will be taken up subsequently.

The committee raised questions regarding delays in the project and said that it was high time that we as a nation do away with a quasi-democratic attitude and ensure that all projects are completed on time. The committee was informed that in addition to other issues lack of funds was another major impediment that stalled projects.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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