Girls’ education stressed for country’s progress
ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a conference titled, ‘Empowerment Through Girls Education in Contemporary Muslim Societies’ held on Tuesday, said that the future of the country depended on its ability to deliver education to the children, particularly girls.
The conference was organized by Oxfam in collaboration with Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE) and Dubai Cares.
The passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution has changed the dynamics of the education sector in Pakistan and education is no longer a privilege but a fundamental right for all children in the country, the speakers noted.
Oxfam’s country director for Pakistan Neva Khan outlined the importance of addressing education in Pakistan stated, ‘Education for girls in particular is key to building economies and overcoming social problems,’ Neva Khan said adding that Pakistan and other Muslim societies can learn from each others’ experiences.
Sindh Education Minister Peer Mazharul Haq addressing on the occasion said that there had been some achievements much needed to accomplish. It’s high time the government should prioritize education and allot more funds to it, Haq said.
He said that the provincial bodies and civil society needed to be empowered to raise the level of education services.
‘We should start campaigns at the grass roots level particularly in rural areas to improve access and address barriers to education for girls,’ Mazhar said.
Assistant Director, Educational Planning and Research Division, Ministry of Education, Malaysia Zaleha Abdul Hamid explained that the government’s spending of 15.4 percent of its GDP on education as compared to Pakistan’s less than two percent reflected its political will to educate its children.
Former head of Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology, Dr Khalid Masud, said education was seen as a transfer of information rather than a process of intellectual development. To change this approach, he said the public needed to be empowered so that political figures were forced to justify and defend their policies to the public.
Dr A H Nayyar from Pakistan’s Ali Institute of Education said that whereas donors could provide some funds, the responsibility to provide the vast majority of resources lied with the government.
The two-day event will formulate a set of policy recommendations that will help chart a way forward for Pakistani civil society and supporters seeking to secure the country’s future.