Monday, November 30, 2015

Pakistan Students Crowned World Champions in World Education Games 2015

Pakistanis were crowned World Champions and won the Maths World Cup, with Malaysia taking second place and the Literacy World Cup and Australia claiming third place overall and the Science World Cup, according to a report in Australia's The Educator publication.


World Education Cup 2015 saw student competitors from 159 countries earn 169 million UNICEF points, and raise more than $100,000 which will help 33,000 kids go to school.

The event was hosted by 3P Learning, an Australian company internationally renowned for its online education resources including Mathletics. Its CEO, Tim Power, said he had seen a big improvement in the results of STEM education subjects. World Education Games is a free downloadable program for registered schools for students to use.

Pakistan's winning team members included Ali Saud Khan (Grade 9), Abeeha Saud (grade 4) and Emaan Fatimah (Grade 7) from Beaconhouse school in Mandi Bahauddin, Lahore, according to The Express Tribune newspaper. The goal of the annual event is to ensure that students have 21st century skills to be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.

Pakistani kids are now increasingly visible on the international stage in global competitions. Recently,  an exceptionally bright student of PakTurk International School in Jamshoro brought home a gold medal after competing in Math Challenge V hosted by the Pan-Asia International School in Bangkok.  In 2013, Khadija Niazi,  then a 12-year-old Pakistani girl attending advanced MOOCS (Massively Online Open Courses) was featured at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In 2012, four teams of Pakistani students won five medals, including one silver, in four international science competitions.

After seeing its youngsters win several international competitions, Pakistan has now decided to host the 48th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) in Karachi next year at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi (KU).

Although access to quality education remains quite limited in Pakistan, it is still encouraging to see some Pakistani youngsters excelling in STEM fields at the international level. I hope these wins will help inspire more young Pakistanis to pursue and excel in math and science education.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Girl's Journey From Karachi Slum to Harvard Business School

12-Year-old Pakistani Girl at World Economic Forum

Pakistani Kids Outperform Indian Counterparts in Math and Reading

PakTurk Schools in Pakistan

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Human Capital Growth in Pakistan

Pakistan Joins CERN as Associate Member

5 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan turns into a Scrabble powerhouse

In a country traditionally obsessed with cricket, the wordy board game is fast becoming a major competitive sport

“Oxyphenbutazone.” Hasham Hadi Khan spells it out. “I think it’s a drug.” It’s also one of the highest-scoring possible plays in a game of Scrabble, a subject the 10-year-old player knows a lot about.

Last year, Hasham racked up a whopping 878 points at a Scrabble championship in Sri Lanka — a higher score than the official world record.

Hasham is part of a new generation of Pakistani schoolchildren who are establishing the country as a Scrabble powerhouse. In a nation where cricket is an obsession, the board game is — perhaps surprisingly — flourishing. Scrabble clubs are popping up all over: Karachi has more than 20, and, last year, 726 people competed in a national tournament.

The Pakistan Scrabble Association was formed in the late 1980s, but players did not fare well internationally until the association began to focus on under-8 students, who went on to score triple-triple word scores at international tournaments. The Pakistani player Moizullah Baig won the World Youth Scrabble Championship in 2013. Last year, the national team placed second.

Javeria Mirza, 18, recalls reactions to the Pakistani contingent on the international circuit. “One of the kids asked us, ‘If Pakistan is a totally locked down terrorist country, how did you guys make it here?’ It was stranger for them to see me playing because I was a little girl with a scarf.” The Pakistan Scrabble Association once had to fundraise, but, as word of its players’ success has spread, corporate sponsors have stepped up over the past couple of years.

Scrabble’s popularity is also, in part, a macabre by product of Pakistan’s state of insecurity. “Parents would rather children stay indoors and play Scrabble than send them out to play physical sports,” says Tariq Pervez, who heads the association’s youth program.

On a Sunday morning, about two dozen people huddled over their boards in a ranking tournament held at a Karachi hotel. Players rushed to a computer to challenge moves, mused over their strategy and meticulously recorded scores. Hasham’s older brothers — 17-year-old identical twins in matching clothes — competed, as did Pakistan’s top-ranked player, Waseem Khatri.

Hassan Hadi, one of the Hasham’s older twin brothers, learned to play Scrabble when their father brought the game home one day. The twins are competitive, but have been upstaged by Hasham. “He bullies me that ‘I started playing two years ago and I’m a record holder and you are just O’” Hassan trails off. “I really am jealous.” — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2015

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/scrabble-clubs-are-popping-up-all-over-pakistan/article7194590.ece

Jamshed said...

While India has 16 Universities in the top 200 among emerging markets, Pakistan has just two and Bangladesh has one.

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2016/brics-emerging-economies#!/page/0/length/-1

Parthasarthy said...

Sir, we participate and win prestigious awards too. I was in the US in May 2015 and here is a newspaper clipping.

“Hum Kisise Kum Naheen” is what these brilliant young Indian Schools students would like to tell the world, after winning awards at this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), that was recently held in USA.

Their winning science projects ranged from “An AAC Device: Converting Breath into Speech for the Disabled” to “Plumeria Blooms for Organic Electronics”!

Team India at the 2015 ISEF opening ceremony - Pittsuburg USA
Team India at the 2015 ISEF opening ceremony – Pittsuburg USA
Photo source: Facebook

The awards were given away on May 15, 2015 at a glittering ceremony held in Pittsburg, USA, the venue for this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

About the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF):

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a program of Society for Science & the Public (SSP), is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition.

Approximately 1,700 high school students from over 75 countries, regions, and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for approximately $4 million in prizes.

Today, millions of students worldwide compete each year in local and school-sponsored science fairs; the winners of these events go on to participate in SSP-affiliated regional and state fairs from which the best win the opportunity to attend Intel ISEF.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair honors the world’s most promising student scientists, inventors and engineers. Finalists are selected annually from hundreds of affiliated fairs. Their projects are then evaluated onsite by approximately 1,000 judges from nearly every scientific discipline, each with a Ph.D. or the equivalent of six years of related professional experience in one of the scientific disciplines.

The 2015 Intel ISEF award winners from India

Thank you

Riaz Haq said...

A 17-year-old Pakistani high school student's physics paper has surprised some older scientists

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/04/science/electric-honeycomb.html

This is an electric honeycomb. It’s what happens when certain kinds of electrically charged particles travel between a pointy electrode and a flat one, but bump into a puddle of oil along the way.

The polygonal pattern that emerges is what some physicists also call the rose-window instability, because it resembles the circular, stained-glass designs found in Gothic churches. It’s what happens as natural forces work to keep an electric charge moving in an interrupted circuit.


This visualization reveals fundamental principles about how electricity moves through fluids that engineers can use to develop technology for printing, heating or biomedicine. But it also reminds us that humans aren’t the only ones seeking stability in an unstable world. Even tiny, unconscious objects need balance. You can see similar patterns in wax honeycombs, fly’s eyes and soap bubbles.

Physicists knew of this phenomenon decades before Muhammad Shaheer Niazi, a 17-year-old high school student from Pakistan met the electric honeycomb. In 2016, as one of the first Pakistani participants in the International Young Physicists’ Tournament, he replicated the phenomenon and presented his work as any professional scientist would. But he also developed photographic evidence of charged ions creating the honeycomb, and published his work Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

But first: How does the honeycomb form?

Just about every electronic device in your home contains capacitors, which store electricity, a bit like a battery. Electricity travels from the top electrode, through the insulator, to the bottom, or ground electrode.

An electric honeycomb behaves like a capacitor. In this case, the top electrode is a needle that delivers high voltage to the air just a few centimeters above a thin layer of oil on the other flat, grounded surface electrode.

The high voltage strips molecules in the air of their electrons, and creates what’s called a corona discharge, pouring down these electrically charged particles, or ions, like water from a fountain, onto the surface of the oil. Just as lightning strives to strike the ground, these ions want to hit their ground electrode. But because oil is an inefficient conductor, they can’t get through it.

“We can say this is frustrated lightning,” said Alberto T. Pérez Izquierdo, a physicist at the University of Seville in Spain whose 1997 work on the subject inspired Mr. Niazi’s project.


The ions start accumulating on top of the oil until their force is too much. They sink down, forming a dimple in the oil that exposes the bottom electrode, allowing them to find their ground.

But now, the surface of the oil is no longer even. Within milliseconds, dozens of hexagonal shapes form in the layer that help maintain the equilibrium nature demands. The polygons keep the amount of energy flowing into and out of the system equal, and balance two forces — gravity, which keeps the oil’s surface horizontal, and the electric field pushing down on top of it.

To prove that the ions were moving, Mr. Niazi photographed images of the shadows formed by their wind as they exited the needle and recorded the heat presumed to come from the friction of their travel through the oil. Heat appeared to originate at the needle, and dissipate outward, increasing with time — even five minutes after the honeycomb formed.

The thermal images puzzled Dr. Pérez Izquierdo. Neither he nor others had previously explored temperature changes on the oil’s surface, and he would have expected a smaller and more even heating effect than Mr. Niazi observed. Determining the heat’s origin is an interesting question that requires more study, he said, while also praising Mr. Niazi’s experimental skill.

“I think it’s outstanding for so young a scientist to reproduce these results,” Dr. Pérez Izquierdo said.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s biggest Science Olympiad LUMS PsiFi set to kick off this Friday

https://www.techjuice.pk/pakistans-biggest-science-olympiad-lums-psifi-set-to-kick-off-this-friday/

The biggest science Olympiad of the country, PsiFi, which is hosted by the Lahore University of Management and Sciences’ Society for Promotion of Engineering and Sciences is set to start from tomorrow.

PsiFi is entering into its 9th edition, thus the name “PsiFi IX”. The first edition of the series gave LUMS the honour of being the pioneer of Science Olympiads in Pakistan. Since then, PsiFi has been held on an annual basis and each event promises a better experience than before.

SPADES’ executive body is determined to make this year’s event a success, putting in days and nights to ensure that the participants have an exhilarating start to the year. PsiFi consists of a bundle of science-oriented competitions. It revolves around 16 academic events and 4 socials spread over 4 days, starting from the 13th till the 16th of January, 2018.

SPADES quotes the drive to counter the narrative of science being a “boring” field as the root cause of the efforts to make Psifi a “Feast of Fun”. It has set out with all the right weapons required to convince everyone that science is fun and interesting.

The 16 academic events are spread over a wide array of backgrounds and are not confined to one branch of science. Some of them are:

See also: Upcoming Lahore Science Mela is all about blending science with culture

1. Diagnosis Dilemma
This event is based on 3 rounds, starting off from a Crisis scenario wherein participants will take up the role of a paramedic and try to counter the crisis situation, participants will put their surgical ability to test and pull out a tumor from a dummy without damaging internal organs.

2. Galactica
This event aims to bring out the Matt Damon in everyone and test their knowledge of space and planets. Nowadays, space travel and the possibility of people living on other planets is constantly being explored by governments and firms like SpaceX. Now, students have the chance to present their proposals in front of a learned judging panel. Galactica, where limits extend beyond the sky.

3. Geek Wars
This event is bound to exploit the movie and seasons knowledge of the participants. Based on 5 rounds, this event will bring out the sci-fi movie nerd inside everyone. The rounds will comprise of MCQs, riddles and dares, all of them aiming to bring the Sci-Fi element in Psifi!

4. Vine’d Up
This event is all about laughter, humor and the best thing in our lives: Memes! Based on 3 rounds in addition to a bonus round, this event will comprise of participants making memes out of images given to them and using imaginary gadgets in (hopefully) funny videos. This event promises to be one of the most enjoyable of the roster of events, and rightfully so. After all, what’s life without laughter, right?

Other than the academic events, Psifi will also host 4 social events including a concert which is bound to be the highlight of the event. Starting from the amazing opening ceremony all the way up to the Black and Gold themed Closing Dinner, the socials will be an amazing remedy for the stress from the academic events.