Islamabad, April 03, 2015 (PPI-OT): Minister of State Baleegh Ur Rehman chaired a meeting of World Bank Education team at C Block today. Education has been a great challenge for every government in Pakistan, said the State Minister. Low funding and low tax to GDP ratio are the main causes of deterioration of education in our country.
Although our federal government has shown remarkable efforts in increasing the education budget in past 1.5yrs and we are fully determined to improve the education standard in Pakistan. Our goal is to establish universities in each and every district of Pakistan which would be linked to the provincial universities.
Minister of State talked about the law and order condition in the country and said that the terrorism and extremism have adversely affected the education sector. However current military operation in North Waziristan and similar operations in other parts of the country have been quite successful and results are coming in. Most of the areas of North Waziristan have been swept and IDPs have started returning to their homelands which is commendable.
Character building is the most important aspect of the education and therefore we are working for not only educating our children but making them better human beings as well, stressed the State Minister. Minister of State said that after the devolution curriculum development also went to the provinces and a period of confusion started but thank Allah lots of good voices came up for the improvement of curriculum.
And by the grace of Allah all provinces except one are on the same page and working on the development of National Curriculum. Madrassas reforms have also been under taken by our government and we are closely monitoring the madrassas’ curriculum in order to root out any hate material in it.
According to National plan of action 2013 provinces and districts came together to establish more non formal schools in small and remote areas, said the State Minister. We are providing Rs. 150, 00 per year to teach 40 students in an area, and we have seen many doctors, engineers and professionals coming out of this non formal sector in past few years.
First TEVIT (technical and vocational training) policy has also been launched recently, said the minister. Further he added that vocational qualification framework is going to be revised by the Cabinet very soon. Meanwhile Apprenticeship Act has also been finalized in order to facilitate the vocational schools. We are trying to replicate the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) model in Federal which has the slogan of lower cost and better learning. We are planning to develop the technical high schools all over the country as well.
Minister of State lamented that drop outs increase from primary to secondary classes and said that we are launching a pilot project 2015 of vocational training institutes in order to reduce the drop outs rate.
Minister of State proudly stated that Pakistan is going to chair the E9 conference for next two years and we would try to resolve all our education woes in this period of time. He said that best practices of the world’s education need to be shared with Pakistan in order to make our education system better.
Therefore he asked the World Bank education team to arrange some lecture series for the educationists, teachers, students, and parents in Pakistan. He admired the active engagement of World Bank with the Parwan Centre at APMA (Academy for planning and management) as well.
Claudia Maria Costin (Senior Director Education Global Practice) from Brazil said that Brazil and Pakistan have similar educational challenges and achievements and therefore we can learn so much from each other’s experiences. Good education is expensive and it cannot be provided overnight.
Brazil has made a mistake while devolving too much of the education subject to the provinces without devising any mechanism. But thankfully we are back on track and working on the development of National Curriculum like Pakistan.
She said “I would like to congratulate the government of Pakistan for achieving so much in education sector in such a short period of time”. She also admired the efforts of the government of Pakistan in achieving the inter- provincial coordination/harmony over the development of the National Curriculum.
Further she added that she was quite impressed to hear about the character building aspect in the education by the Minister of State. Kids who learn such traits like honesty, integrity and resilience become better students, said Claudia Maria. Lastly she requested the Minister of State to make the World Bank Education Team a part of his ministry’s team so that they can work together for the betterment of education in Pakistan.
In the end Minister of State thanked the delegation and assured to work in close collaboration with the World Bank Education Team. Meeting was attended by Secretary (Ministry of Education), Additional Secretary (Ministry of Education), Amit Dar (Director Education, World Bank education team), Halil Dundar (Practice Manager, World Bank Education team), Keiko Miwa (Education Advisor, World Bank Education Team), Kavita P. Watsa (Senior Communication Officer), Umbreen Arif (Senior Education Specialist), and other officials of the ministry.
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