ISLAMABAD: UN Secretary general’s Special Envoy on Education Gordon Brown on Saturday announced the international community would offer about $ 1 billion for education in Pakistan over the next three to four years.
“The money has been pledged by a number of international organisations and friendly countries,” he told a press conference after addressing the Youth Forum here at the Convention Centre.
Brown said the international community wanted to make ensure there were no instances of child marriages, child labour and gender discrimination. He said Pakistan’s government and political parties wanted to double expenditure on education to achieve goal of universal education. “I am here to promote and implement plan for universal education in Pakistan. There are seven million children who are out of schools in Pakistan. The world cannot achieve its goal unless Pakistan makes progress in delivering education and sends every child to school,” he said.
Brown said the international community was ready to provide finance to Pakistan as assistance to build schools, purchase equipments and conduct training of school teachers over the next few years. “We must develop concerted measurers to send girls and boys to schools. We hope to develop new proposals to speed up efforts to offer education to every child,” he added. He said that a great change has come in last two years and now people do recognise that future of Pakistan’s economy depends on education. There is great determination on the part of girls themselves that their right of education should be upheld, he said. “This is movement of change. This is civil rights struggle for change and liberation. And girls particularly are demanding their right for education”.
Brown said Global Partnership for Education had committed $100 million, the USAID $140 million and the European community $100 million, besides support from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Nations and other countries. The announcements by Gordon Brown coincided with prime Minister Nawaz Sharif revealing his government’s plan to launch a countrywide literacy movement to ensure enrolment of every child in the school through a package of incentives. “Our effort is to achieve the targets, set by Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) within the coming three years,” the prime minister told an international conference titled ‘Unfinished Agenda in Education: the Way Forward’.
The prime minister stressed to focus on science and technology and modern skills in education system, besides calling for prioritisation of female education in education policy, effective participation of women in the decision-making process and to protect their respect and dignity. “It has, in fact, become a national emergency. More than half of the country’s population is below 25 years of age. With proper education and training, this huge reservoir of human capital can offer us an edge in the race for growth and prosperity in the age of globalisation. Without education, this resource can turn into a burden,” Nawaz said. The prime minister said he had directed the Planning Commission to give education top priority in the prospective plan known as Vision 2025.
He said the private sector too was playing an increasingly important role in the field of education. “Out of the 14.4 million primary stage enrolments, 4.8 million ie 34% are enrolled in private sector schools. Private sector’s share is much higher at the lower middle and secondary levels,” he added.
Later, the prime minister told Brown at a meeting that his government was working for quality of education, gender equality and improvement in literacy and learning opportunities for both the young and adults in the society.
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