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Secretary United Kingdom International Development arrives in Pakistan

Islamabad, January 23, 2013 (PPI-OT): Education is the UK’s number one priority in Pakistan. We will continue to work with Pakistan, as a partner, to help support four million children in school by 2015

Secretary of State for the UK’s Department for International Development, Justine Greening, arrived in Pakistan on 21st Jan 2013 where she confirmed the UK’s commitment to help support four million of Pakistan’s children in school during a visit to two schools in Rawalpindi.

Justine Greening said:

“Education is the single most important factor that can transform Pakistan’s future. Education helps to increase economic growth and will give the next generation of Pakistanis the chance to build a better future for themselves and their families. That’s why education is the UK’s number one priority in Pakistan. We will continue to work with Pakistan, as a partner, to help support four million children in school by 2015.”

Over the next six years alone, UK support for the planned Punjab Education Sector Programme, working with government and other donors, will help an additional 2.9 million children gain access to education, 71 per cent of whom will be girls.

Progress by the Government of Punjab has seen the primary enrolment rate for girls rise to 68 per cent (from 59 per cent) across the province and to 64 per cent (from 55 per cent) in rural areas, between 2006 and 2010.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the UK’s education programme is focusing on tackling the educational disadvantages faced by girls, providing monthly ‘stipends’ so that poor families can send their girls to school and helping them to stay longer by investing in secondary education facilities for girls schools. 400,000 girls received vouchers this year.

And a new Education Fund for Sindh will educate 200,000 children through vouchers for low cost private sector schools, by working with organisations educating the poor and by supporting public private education partnerships. In its first year, the Education Fund for Sindh is already supporting the education of over 11,600 children.

Later in the day the UK’s Development Secretary met the Minister of Finance Hafeez Shaikh to discuss the continued close partnership between the United Kingdom and Pakistan.

Justine Greening said:

“I am pleased to be in Pakistan to see for myself the results that UK aid is helping to deliver in transforming people’s lives and to reiterate the close and enduring bond that our two countries share.

“The elections are a crucial milestone in Pakistan’s democratic history. We look forward to the peaceful transition of power with elections that are credible and support economic reforms that will help Pakistan thrive in the future providing basic services for a fast growing population. The UK stands ready to support Pakistan’s effort to deal with these critical issues.”

The UK’s aid programme is linked to the Government of Pakistan’s progress on results and reform at both the Federal and Provincial levels, particularly following the upcoming elections. Discussions between the UK’s Development Secretary and Minister of Finance focused on steps being taken to build a more dynamic economy, strengthen the country’s tax base and tackle corruption.

Justine Greening said:

“Pakistan has great potential to lift millions of people out of poverty and to integrate and trade with the region. Economic reform – including greater tax effort, resolving the energy crisis, and cutting unproductive subsidies – is crucial to unleash that potential. In most of these areas, the critical obstacle is not know-how or money, rather the political consensus necessary for change. The UK is ready to work closely with other international partners to support Pakistan’s efforts.”

During the first day of her visit, Justine Greening also went to the offices of Pakistan’s national cash transfer programme (BISP), meeting women who use the small monthly cash grant of 1000 rupees (approx. £7) to purchase essential supplies, such as food and medicine, and to help send their children to school.

For more information, contact:
Mike Girling
Press Attache
British High Commission
Islamabad
Tel: +9251 201 2000
Cell: +92300 500 5306
Website: http://ukinpakistan.fco.gov.uk

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