MAR 31 2014

4pc for education in GDP by 2018: PM

Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Saturday unveiled his government’s plan to launch a countrywide literacy movement to ensure enrolment of every child in the school, by introducing a package of incentives. “Our effort is to achieve the targets set by Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) within the next three years,” he said. “A key target, set by Unesco, is to increase resources for the education sector to reach four per cent of the GDP by the year 2018,” said the prime minister. He was inaugurating an international conference titled “Unfinished Agenda in Education: the Way Forward” arranged by the Ministry of Education, Training and Standards in Higher Education. The conference was also attended by Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General on Education Gordon Brown, CEO of Global Partnership for Education Alice Albright, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar, Governor KP Engineer Shaukatullah and Minister of State for Education Baligh-ur-Rehman, as well as cabinet members, UN officials and parliamentarians.

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New education push: UN envoy promises Pakistan $1b over next four years

The international community will provide Pakistan around $1 billion over the next four years to help domestic efforts to deliver universal education in the country, UN Special Envoy on Global Education Gordon Brown announced on Saturday. Brown, who is on a brief visit to Pakistan, said he met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other top federal and provincial government officials on Saturday to discuss improvements in the accessibility and quality of education in Pakistan, which has the world’s second-most highest number of out-of-school children at the primary school level. “We want to set a 21-month goal that by December 2015 we have as many students in school in Pakistan as possible,” said Brown, who was flanked by Minister of State for Education, Trainings and Higher Education Baleeghur Rehman and Punjab’s Governor Muhammad Sarwar during a press conference at the Jinnah Convention Centre. “We will help you as the international community to meet your objective to get every girl and boy in school,” the former British prime minister said.

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Pakistani program would raise female literacy by cellphone

Pakistan's Sindh provincial government is planning a literacy program to reach women and girls in remote areas via cellphone, a project leader says. The country has a national literacy rate of 70 percent for males and 47 percent for females, the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey 2011-2012 shows. In Sindh's urban areas, the male literacy rate is 85 percent and female literacy rate is 70 percent, but in rural Sindh the figures are 58 percent for males and 23 percent for females, whose opportunity to pursue an education is often hindered by the religious and cultural tradition known as purdah, which limits their ability to move outside their homes unless accompanied by a male relative. The six-month program, expected to start this year, will be aimed at girls and women ages 15 to 25 in rural areas, the senior program manager for the digital literacy project, Ghulam Nabi Leghari, said.

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Malala lauds education budget boost

Malala Yousafzai has hailed the government’s announcement to allocate four percent of GDP for education during the next four years, Radio Pakistan reported on Monday. In an interview, she thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for this promised increase and said that education is the only guarantee of Pakistan s bright future. Malala Yousafzai said society and students will also have to play their role as government alone cannot achieve this goal. She said we can get rid of many social evils by educating the people. Malala was nominated last year for the Nobel Peace Prize and won the European Union s Sakharov human rights prize for her crusade for the right of all children to an education.

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Implementing reforms in education sector

The continuing negligence of the education sector in Pakistan reveals itself in several ways. The budget figures negate the claims made by successive governments regarding their concern about education. The country currently spends 1.8 pc of GDP on education as compared to Cuba spending 18.7 pc, Malaysia 8.5 pc, Israel 7.5 pc and India 4.1 pc. The negligence has produced horrendous results. Currently, 25 million children of ages 5 to 16 years are out of school. There is a big backlog of the illiterates, comprising 30 million women and 18 million men aged 15 or above. The state-run schools are in shambles. There are ‘ghost schools’ and ghost teachers’ with the money provided for them landing in the pockets of corrupt government officials or politicians. Article 25-A of the Constitution, which says that ‘the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age 5 to 16 years by such a manner as determined by law’, remains unimplemented.

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A pragmatic leader

Recently UN issued a report on child education in Pakistan which should have triggered alarm bells, but a country which spends less than 2% of its GDP on education cannot expect miracles. As per report over 6.5 million Pakistani children are not even getting primary education, one may imagine the drop-outs at secondary and higher levels. Pakistan is far behind many Asian and African countries in imparting basic education at grassroots level.

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Sardar Yousaf for quality education to end economic disparity

Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar Muhammad Yousaf has called up private schools to contribute in educating marginalised segments of society and improving quality of education for eliminating economic disparity from the society. Addressing an annual function of a private school, he said education helps changing lives.The minister said skilled youth is asset of the nation, which can give an edge in the race for growth and prosperity. Maximum employment opportunities can be created for the youth after making education standard better, he added. The minister said Pakistan has very bright future as its youth has an ability to change destiny of the country. Government is taking comprehensive arrangements to enhance their skills and facilitate them, he added. Referring an Annual Status of Education Report - ASER 2013 National Survey, the minister said the number of enrolled children in the schools is not satisfactory. 

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Waseela-e-Taleem to go into 26 districts across the country: Enver Baig

Waseela-e-Taleem (access to education) programme under Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) launched by Mr. Gordon Brown on November 9, 2012, has been successfully tested in 5 districts and the present government has fine-tuned the design and implementation arrangements and expanding it to 26 additional districts in all provinces of Pakistan, said Chairman BISP Enver Baig. Chairman BISP was addressing the one day international conference on “Unfinished Agenda of Education in Pakistan: The Way Forward” organized by Ministry of Professional and Technical Training. The Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Mr. Gordon Brown, Former British Prime Minister and Special Envoy of Secretary General UN on Education along with Mian Muhammad Baleegh ur Rehman, Minister of State for education and interior attended the seminar.

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