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Govt committed to 100% literacy goal with private sector partnership: Punjab Minister

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Minister of Punjab Literacy and Non-Formal Basic Education Department Raja Rashid Hafeez has said that the government is committed to 100% literacy rate; however, without the partnership of the private sector we cannot turn the dream into reality.

He made these remarks in a ceremony organized by the Rice Partners Pvt Ltd (RPL) to distribute school kits among the children of rice transplanters under its initiative ‘Provision of School Kits to Increase Literacy Rate’.

RPL’s baseline study found that many rice transplanter families are willing to educate their children but are unable to bear their educational expenses.

The RPL provided the kits to the children in collaboration with Helvetas Pakistan, Swiss Solidarity, and Punjab Literacy and Non-Formal Basic Education Department.

Rashid Hafeez applauded the interventions made by RPL for the development of marginalized segments of society.

He said that the government will make new MoUs with the private sector so that we could make collective efforts to bring out of school children into schools/literacy centers and raise the literacy rate.

He further added that the government has launched the Friends of Literacy project under which resourceful persons and organizations can support the children of poor and literacy centers by providing necessary aides i.e. stationery, shoes, furniture, covid-19 supplies etc.

Ihsan Khan Vice President RPL said that RPL started its operations back in 2011 and is working in different districts of Punjab and Sindh. Since then today we have a huge and strong network of 27,000 farmers. Our main objective is to improve the livelihood of farmers by reducing their cost of production and to improve their yield.

Zafar Iqbal Head Smart Farmer Community RPL highlighted the interventions of RPL for the welfare and development of farmers and agriculture laborers. RPL has trained thousands of farmers on sustainable rice production and also provided them the facility of land laser leveling on 50% cost-sharing basis. We all are gathered here to start another intervention of RPL “Provision of School Kits to Increase Literacy Rate”.

Dr. Arjumand Nizami, Country Director Pakistan, Helvetas Swiss said that laborers are the backbone of the agriculture sector and without the betterment of agriculture laborers we cannot make our rice sector sustainable. We have to ensure decent working conditions in the rice value chain of Pakistan. The income of these families is not so high to send their children into schools due to which they are sending their children into fields for labor work to raise their income. If their children do not get education today they will remain laborers tomorrow.

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