Govt plans lit­er­acy move­ment; 4pc GDP for ed­u­ca­tion by 2018: PM

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Prime Min­is­ter Muham­mad Nawaz Sharif un­veiled his govern­ment's plan to launch a coun­try­wide lit­er­acy move­ment to en­sure en­roll­ment of ev­ery child in the school, by in­tro­duc­ing a pack­age of in­cen­tives. He said "Our ef­fort is to achieve the tar­gets, set by Ed­u­ca­tion for All (EFA) and Mil­len­nium De­vel­op­ment Goals (MDGs) within the com­ing three years." "A key tar­get, set by UNESCO, is to in­crease re­sources for the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor to reach 4 per cent of GDP by the year 2018," said the Prime Min­is­ter, in­au­gu­rat­ing in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence on '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, Min­is­ter of State for Ed­u­ca­tion Ba­ligh-ur-Rehman, Cab­i­net mem­bers, UN of­fi­cials and parliamentarians.

The Prime Min­is­ter said the govern­ment's ob­jec­tive was to de­velop an ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem that was com­pat­i­ble with the re­quire­ments of a knowl­edge-based econ­omy.

He stressed to fo­cus on sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy and mod­ern skills in ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, be­sides call­ing for pri­or­i­ti­za­tion of fe­male ed­u­ca­tion in ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy, ef­fec­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion of women in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process and to pro­tect their re­spect and dig­nity.

He said "for Pak­istan, ed­u­ca­tion was not merely a mat­ter of pri­or­ity, but, it is the fu­ture of Pak­istan, which lies in its ed­u­cated youth." "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 reser- voir of hu­man cap­i­tal can of­fer us an edge in the race for growth and pros­per­ity in the age of glob­al­iza­tion. With­out ed­u­ca­tion, this re­source can turn into a bur­den," Nawaz Sharif said.

He said the pri­mary con­cerns in ed­u­ca­tion were low bud­getary al­lo­ca­tions for ed­u­ca­tion, a very high num­ber of out of school chil­dren, high drop-out rates, gen­der dis­par­ity, low lit­er­acy rate and re­al­iz­ing the MDGs and EFA tar­gets.

He said de­spite ed­u­ca­tion, be­ing a provin­cial sub­ject, there was a na­tional con­sen­sus on the need for re­form and mod­ern­iza­tion of the coun­try's ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem to bring it at par with the na­tional pri­or­i­ties and in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

He said the federal ed­u­ca­tion min­istry had re­cently launched a Na­tional Plan of Ac­tion in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the provin­cial gov­ern­ments pro­vid­ing a frame­work for ac­cel­er­ated progress to­wards achiev­ing the MDGs.

"I be­lieve that Ed­u­ca­tion was not an ex­pense but an in­vest­ment into the fu­ture. Rather, it is the best in­vest­ment an in­di­vid­ual, par­ent or na­tion can make," he added.

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 i.e. 34% are en­rolled in pri­vate sec­tor schools. Pri­vate sec­tor share is much higher at the lower mid­dle and sec­ondary lev­els," he added.

Laud­ing the role of UN agencies, NGOs, civil so­ci­ety, re­li­gious in­sti­tu­tions, de­liv­ery agents, and donors' com­mu­nity, he in­vited all to join the govern­ment in its mis­sion to ed­u­cate and train Pak­istan's youth. "I have no doubt that they can turn around all our chal­lenges into op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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