Shah­baz Sharif is en­er­getic, re­formist: The Economist

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Punjab Chief Min­is­ter Muham­mad Shah­baz Sharif has been hailed as an en­er­getic politi­cian and a re­formist leader who is far ahead of his peers in land­mark ini­tia­tives in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor and spread­ing ed­u­ca­tion amongst the poor seg­ments of so­ci­ety across Punjab.

In the cur­rent edi­tion of the Economist, Shah­baz Sharif stands apart amongst the lead­ers from Africa and In­dia who has achieved mar­ket-based ed­u­ca­tion re­forms with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of pri­vate sec­tor in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor. The jour­nal has ad­mired the de­ci­sion by the Shah­baz Sharif's ini­tia­tives to spread lit­er­acy, ad­mir­ing Punjab gov­ern­ment's pol­icy not to build any new schools to achieve 100 per­cent en­rol­ment tar­get for school-age chil­dren by the year 2018 but tak­ing the pri­vate sec­tor on board for the task.

Ac­cord­ing to the sta­tis­tics quoted, the in­clu­sion of the pri­vate sec­tor in the ed­u­ca­tion re­forms has cut down the cost to al­most half what is be­ing spent on the public sec­tor schools be­sides more ef­fec­tive mon­i­tor­ing and teacher train­ing.

Punjab Chief Min­is­ter's ini­tia­tive of the Punjab Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion (PEF) has been lauded for yield­ing re­sults in the spread of ed­u­ca­tion among the poor strata with the ini­tia­tives like set­ting up schools in the ru­ral ar­eas and in­tro­duc­ing voucher scheme to par­ents liv­ing in slums and who do not send their chil­dren to schools. The de­ci­sion to turn the pri­vate ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor in or­der to achieve ca­pac­ity build­ing of teach­ers and pro­vide cheap ed­u­ca­tion to the less-priv­i­leged in the province of the Punjab has also been wel­comed as the pri­vate sec­tor is be­lieved to be flex­i­ble about hir­ing and can set up schools far too quickly in the rented build­ings.

The Shah­baz Sharif's gov­ern­ment has also been ad­mired for pay­ing par­ents to send their chil­dren to schools and this ini­tia­tive has en­roled some 2 mil­lion chil­dren to PEF schools while 1 mil­lion more are ex­pected to study at PEF schools by the end of 2018. `The Economist' re­port is a tes­ta­ment of the fu­tur­is­tic and vi­sion­ary lead­er­ship of the Punjab Chief Min­is­ter Muham­mad Shah­baz Sharif and an apt trib­ute to the ed­u­ca­tion-friendly poli­cies of the Punjab Chief Min­is­ter Muham­mad Shah­baz Sharif.

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