“If it is important enough to be done at Oxford University, it is important enough to be done in Pakistan.”
This is what Manzil, a PhD scholar of Education at Oxford, thought after experiencing the activities of the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) Education Center at Cambridge University. She was concerned about the state of education in Pakistan.
Most students in her home country were deprived of the chance to learn 21st-century skills which their western counterparts were learning since childhood.
STEAM is deeply embedded in the education system of countries that have progressed and made an impact in the world, through inculcating cognitive thinking and innovation skills in children, from a young age. . STEAM fields are among the fastest-growing job markets in the world and most of the Nobel prizes are awarded in these subjects.
However, STEAM education in Pakistan isn’t given the attention it deserves. Manzil vowed to improve things.
Upon returning to Pakistan, she worked with vigor to improve the STEAM education landscape so as to empower the youth to become critical independent thinkers.
The deficiency of STEAM-focused education was evident to her when she taught Masters level students in the Department for Innovative Technologies at the National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad. It was alarming to see even the star performers facing difficulties in the application of concepts. Manzil realized that the problem lies in the mindset, which needs to be evolved and changed from a young age.
With this vision, Manzil started the Oxbridge Innovative Solutions in 2018. Manzil believed that STEM skills were a necessity and not a luxury, and hence she started targeting public schools, to make the system accessible to the masses.
Oxbridge Innovative Solutions does not aim to replace or undermine the existing education system, rather it aims to provide a curriculum with hands-on learning equipment, that can be easily integrated into the existing curriculum.
The integrated curriculum has received praise from schools where it has been implemented. Many millennial parents, who are aware of the skills their children need to succeed in their careers and in life, have encouraged the efforts of Oxbridge Innovative Solutions.
The curriculum and activities are designed to be fun, relevant, and highly engaging for students, enabling students to actively participate in activities, to learn quicker, faster, and retain longer.
The application-based curriculum enables students to develop hands-on experience through practical implementation of concepts, preparing them for the practical world.
Students can apply the skills of problem-solving to improve their learning and tackle challenges in any subject and domain. This develops confidence, especially from a young age.
Currently, the STEM curriculum has been curated for Grade 1 to Grade 8, and implemented in schools, while the curriculum for higher grades is under development.
At the National Incubation Center, the Oxbridge Innovative Solutions team has learnt about handling the business aspects of a startup from amazing mentors who have been supportive at every step of the journey.
Oxbridge Innovative Solutions is not just a business. It is a movement that aims to sustain itself, to open avenues for a brighter and empowered future for the coming generations.
The team at Oxbridge Innovative Solutions welcomes everyone to become a part of this movement and get an authentic STEAM education experience through their workshops, conducted regularly at the National Incubation Center, Islamabad.
These workshops are fun and provide learning through hands-on experiments on a broad spectrum of domains, including astronomy, aeromodelling, architecture, and many more.
For time and dates on future workshops, keep checking this space: https://m.facebook.com/pg/Oxbridgeinnovatives/events/
Manzil Maqsood – CEO Oxbridge Innovative Solutions: https://www.linkedin.com/in/manzilemaqsood/?originalSubdomain=pk