ISLAMABAD: “We want our students, especially our girls, to aspire for and excel in 21st-century careers,” said Mohyuddin Ahmad Wani, Chief Secretary Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), at the concluding ceremony of the maiden GB Career Festival 2022 here.
The first-of-its-kind four-day national-level career festival was organized by the government of Gilgit-Baltistan to create awareness among school, college and university students regarding the most relevant career paths available to them.
“Through this effort, we wanted to allow our students to interact with thought leaders and experts from different walks of life, learn from their experiences, and aspire to follow in their footsteps,” added Mr. Wani.
More than 16,000 students, with a healthy participation from both girl and boy schools, from across GB participated in the event.
On the sidelines of the festival, a letter of understanding (LoU) was inked between the Education and Special Education Department, GB, and the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFEPT) to promote STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) education at the school level.
Secretary Education Gilgit Baltistan Rana Muhammad Saleem Afzal signed the LoU on behalf of the department.
In April 2022, with financial assistance from the Malala Fund, the federal education ministry initiated a five-year project, STEAM Pakistan, to advance secondary school-aged girls’ access to STEAM education. The signing of this LoU is in line with the project’s mandate to take the modern STEAM learning model to all the 13,000 high schools across Pakistan.
As a first step, the ministry, through its STEAM Pakistan initiative, extended support to the GB career festival by arranging career talks, speed counseling sessions, and mentoring circles led by STEAM Mentors – inspiring women leaders in STEAM from different cities of Pakistan.
The “STEAM Superwomen” who participated in the festival included Dr Shahana Khurshid, environmental engineer and Professor at LUMS School of Science and Engineering; Haya Fatima Iqbal, Academy and two-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and Professor at Habib University; Rishm Saifullah, principal architect and visiting faculty member at BNU Lahore; and Shamim Rajani, tech entrepreneur and Founder of Genetech and CodeGirlsPk.
“The sheer presence of the STEAM Mentors at the festival opened new vistas for the young people who got an opportunity to interact with them. I am grateful to my colleagues from the STEAM Pakistan project and we welcome their contribution for the benefit of the students of Gilgit-Baltistan,” commented Mr. Wani.
“Our objective was to provide young people, especially young girls with access to Pakistani role models from the STEAM fields who could both guide the students on exploring the most relevant career options as well as broaden their worldviews to make them more ambitious for their futures,” shared Sana Kazmi, Head of Partnerships with the STEAM Pakistan project.
Under the LoU, the federal ministry of education’s STEAM Policy Unit will provide technical support to the staff of the Elementary and Secondary Education Department of Gilgit-Baltistan.